Tatum O’Neal opens up about rheumatoid arthritis: I can’t tie my shoes

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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.”

[From People]

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.

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12 Responses to “Tatum O’Neal opens up about rheumatoid arthritis: I can’t tie my shoes”

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  1. Michael says:

    Ryan O’Neal is one of the worst people and parents I have ever read about. Has to be an all time Hollywood diet bag.

  2. manda says:

    Oh wow, Faerie Tale Theater! I haven’t thought about that in ages…

  3. Maria says:

    I used to like her until her nasty comments about Duchess Meghan.

    • josephine says:

      I get completely disagreeing with what Tatum said but I’m not seeing “nasty” in her comments. Granted, I haven’t read every word Tatum said but basically she expressed disappointment that Meghan’s bodyguards didn’t allow people to take pics at Wimbeldon and that Meghan “didn’t get it” and was no Princess Diana, who was totally open to everyone. Again, I’m not saying at all that Tatum’s comments were correct but I don’t think they were vicious either.

      • Maria says:

        I really didn’t appreciate her saying “I feel sorry for Harry because of Meghan” and calling Meghan tacky for a story that people there have confirmed didn’t even happen. She then went on to praise Kate who “really gets it” (I think we know what that means).

      • GuestWho says:

        Spreading false stories about what happened at Wimbeldon was pretty vicious – she made herself part of the narrative of lies and exagerations.

      • GuestWho says:

        …and just to be clear about those false stories: Her bodyguard stopped one guy who was really, really close to Meghan and her friend (he says he was taking a photo of a player who wasn’t actually in the stadium, but whatever). You can see from the video that Meghan didn’t ask him to intervene, he was just doing his job. There are plenty of pictures from that day of people taking photos (from a distance) and other pictures of her interacting with the crowd. The BS about her being a diva was just more of the same “othering” narrative. It was nonsense and Tatum spreading that ish was, in fact, vicious.

  4. elsa says:

    Remember when Ryan O’Neal hit on Tatum (because he didn’t recognize his own daughter) at Farrah Fawcett’s funeral? He’s the wooooorst.

  5. Kristina says:

    My husband has had this since I met him, in his early 20s- although I had no idea what it was and neither did he- he was diagnosed a few years ago. It’s so sad. His favorite thing in the world is to golf, and he used to have sore hands the next day, then that same night, now he can’t play a full game and stopped trying. He likes to build with wood- it hurts too much now. His hands balloon and he wears compression gloves at night and to drive. His feet also swell sometimes. It sucks- he can’t even play with our little kids for too long before, “again!!!” “Sorry bud, my hands are really hurting.” And he’s on meds. Once he thought they weren’t working because his hands still hurt, so he stopped. It hurt so badly he was nearly crippled and had to get back on them right away. It’s truly debilitating.

  6. Sportlady20 says:

    I have Ra & lord knows what else, the doctors are in disagreement. Have had it since 13, diagnosed at 22. I can say that it’s painful & the medicine when I can afford it makes me really sick and has terrible side effects. I’m just a normal gal, as she’s more affluent she can afford better treatments. That said no 2 people have the same problems it’s all different. I’m lucky enough to have gone to school & now work from home, I catch people’s colds quickly. I do have empathy for her, but her Megan comments were terrible. I prefer she not be the face of Ra. Also Cbd is the best anti inflammatory there is & Rso the best pain medication I’ve tried. Fyi