Tatum O’Neal Gets Candid On Struggles With Dad Ryan
First Published: June 22, 2011 2:53 PM EDT Credit: Access Hollywood
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Despite Tatum and her father, Ryan O’Neal’s, rollercoaster relationship, the pair is working on healing from their colorful past and setting their sights on the future.
“It’s a work in progress… nothing’s perfect but we’re trying,” Tatum, who is starring with her dad on OWN’s “Ryan & Tatum: The O’Neals,” told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover on Wednesday’s Access Hollywood Live.
Tatum also addressed her father’s recent candid interview on “Piers Morgan Tonight,” where he linked his family’s turmoil to his longtime partner, Farrah Fawcett, getting cancer.
“I think he’s come off badly recently and I don’t think that’s fair. A lot of his interviews have been misconstrued,” she said, defending her dad. “I choose to do the [OWN] show to try to do a healing, to try to make the conversation happen… [the series] was not like anything I’ve ever done in my life… It’s hard work. Was it cathartic working with him? Sometimes fun, sometimes not.”
The actress said the OWN series has enabled Ryan to open up in new ways.
“Sometimes we got to get to the part of our conversation that we were never able to get to… He tends to have a more impetus to talk when he’s on camera,” she explained of her actor dad.
“Sometimes a family takes an army, and in our case we need like a continent [of people]. We really did need everybody who was on set to get us [to] have any conversation. We fell apart for 20 years, we could fall apart forever,” she continued. “I think he is definitely trying… People are seeing him as possibly not the best dad he could have been, and it’s his opportunity now to come back and be the man he wants to be and maybe can be.”
Tatum told Billy and Kit that her sobriety of almost a year has been a big contributor to her new found connection with her dad.
“I’m really teaching him a lot. I don’t think he understands a lot about alcoholism,” the 47-year-old said.
The mother of three said her past mistakes have helped steer her own kids away from some of the paths she took.
“I think I gave them a really good reason not to use drugs, it wasn’t a fun thing, it was such a terrible experience for me. They drink socially and they’re all fine,” she said of her children, all of whom are in their twenties.
Tatum explained that she’s also come to grips with her mistakes as a parent and is now trying to live in the present.
“I’m the best I’ve ever been,” she said. “I just try to go, ‘Tatum, you’ve done a great job. Today you’re sober. Get up, go. Have your life, be kind to others and hopefully they’ll be kind to you back… day by day.’”
“Ryan & Tatum: The O’Neals” airs Sundays at 10 PM on OWN.