Tatum O’Neal Was a Hollywood Prodigy, But Her Life Story Is Heartbreaking

Tatum O’Neal’s Heartbreaking Life Story

From winning a competitive Academy Award at only ten years old to a life of turmoil and dependency, Tatum O’Neal’s life was anything but easy. Read on to find out all about Tatum O’Neal’s difficult life, including her childhood, her family, and her Hollywood career.

A Star Is Born

Tatum O’Neal was born on November 5th, 1963. The daughter of famous parents, Tatum was the only daughter of actors Joanna Moore and Ryan O’Neal.

Instagram // @mubicanada

Life seemed happy for the O’Neals as they welcomed another child. Griffin, a few years later, in 1964. But things were far from perfect, and their seemingly idyllic life was anything but happy behind closed doors.

Living With Mom

Tatum’s parents led anything but a happy life as they separated, finalizing their divorce in 1967. Sole custody of Tatum and her brother would be awarded to their mother, Joanna.

Facebook // We Love Tatum O’Neal

This move would be the start of a rocky life for Tatum. Her mother had all sorts of issues. While her mother battled dependency issues and enjoyed her life as a single woman, the children were often left to fend for themselves.

Life With Joanna

Life was quite difficult for young Tatum. She and her brother have often come together in later years to speak of the pain and isolation they suffered, saying it led to problems for them later in life.

Instagram // @metrosocietyph

After one too many concerns were raised about their safety while living with their mother, Ryan O’Neal could see the effect that Joanna’s new lifestyle had on the kids and sued for full custody. He was granted custody in 1970, and the children moved into what everyone hoped would be a happier home.

A New Career

Life was happy once again for Tatum and her brother. Though her father had a bit of a nasty temper and a reputation as a playboy, he was far more attentive than Joanna and ensured that his children had all that they needed and more.

Facebook // Young Hollywood Hall of Fame

It was Ryan who would use his power in the acting world to launch Tatum’s career as she landed a role in the 1973 movie Paper Moon, starring alongside her father in her debut feature film about a con artist and his unlikely sidekick.