More than 10 years after they divorced, Tatum O'Neal is opening up about her relationship with John McEnroe — and revealed her ex-husband's personality was "absolutely" similar to her father's.
"[John] was powerful. He could take care of me and let me hide. Because I had no inner core back then. I was so beaten down. Everybody says, 'Oh, you married your father.' I’ve heard that a million times. But John is a much better man than my father. A decent man," the 51-year-old actress said in a new interview with The New York Times.
John and Tatum on their wedding day in August 1986. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The star and the pro tennis player, 56, married in 1986 and welcomed three children — sons Kevin, 29, and Sean, 28, and daughter, Emily, 24 — together before separating in 1992.
In her 2004 memoir, A Paper Life, the Oscar winner candidly revealed she endured years of both physical and emotional abuse from her father, actor Ryan O'Neal. At age 14, Tatum saw a therapist, who warned her that her father, now 74, wasn't a positive influence in her life.
Ryan and Tatum in 1973's Paper Moon. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
"I’d never heard that before, even though he’d been hitting me and beating me and head-butting me for years. By the time I hit puberty, Ryan didn’t like me. Period. But he wouldn’t let me go. So he left me at the beach house [in Malibu] and went off with Farrah [Fawcett]," she wrote of her tumultuous childhood.
Though they were estranged for nearly 25 years, Ryan and Tatum recently reconciled in 2011 to appear on the reality TV series Ryan and Tatum: The O'Neals.