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The morning of the Oscars, CBS Sunday Morning aired an interview with Tatum O’Neal, who is still the youngest actress to win an Oscar (for 1973’s Paper Moon). Tatum talked about living with rheumatoid arthritis, her love for her children, her strained relationship with her father, and mentioned that Cher was a stabilizing influence in her life while she was growing up. People has more:
The Academy Award-winning actress, 56, has already endured back surgery to ease her pain, and will likely need to undergo additional operations. She told CBS Sunday Morning, in a episode airing Sunday, that her rheumatoid arthritis has affected much of her body.
“That means that my hands stopped working,” she said. “It means that — I can’t really tie my shoes. It means that I can’t — I mean, I can’t tie my shoes. I have to re-learn to write. And definitely need surgery on my left knee and my neck in the next week.”
O’Neal credited her daughter Emily McEnroe, one of her three children with ex-husband John McEnroe, for helping her through the struggles. Emily said that O’Neal is staying positive.
“My mom is incredibly loving,” Emily said. “She’s childlike and has always been honest, like she said, fun-loving, just bright. My mom lights up every room that she enters. And that’s true.”
Tatum is visibly moved by Emily’s comments, and it’s also hard to watch her talk about the fact that she thinks that maybe she shouldn’t have divorced John McEnroe, and also that she wishes she and her father were closer than they are at the moment.
A couple of weeks ago, Tatum posted a picture on Instagram of a recent scar sustained during a fall thanks to her RA. It looks incredibly painful. (There is NSFW language in the post.) People included an edited version of what she wrote:
“A fall scratch scar on my right 😠hip. And the back surgery scar from eight years ago,” she wrote in the caption, pointing out each scar seen on her body. “My last back surgery scar is on the front from February.”
“Believe it or not this is me actually getting better,” she added. “Cheers to everyone and rheumatoid arthritis can go f— itself #rheumatoidarthritiswarrior.”
The first movie I saw Tatum in was the Faerie Tale Theatre episode “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” Tatum was Goldilocks, and John Lithgow and Carole King played her parents. I think that may have been the first episode of Faerie Tale Theatre that I saw, and it’s always remained one of my favorites. Tatum’s interview made me sad, but she did say at the end that she thinks her “best years are still ahead of [her],” and I was glad for her optimism. I hope that that’s true and that her upcoming surges give her some relief.