Ryan O’Neal Nearly Lost His Daughter Who Suffered a 6-Week Coma & Woke up Unable to Speak

In July 2023, Tatum O’Neal, Ryan O’Neal’s daughter, revealed she was in a six-week coma after suffering a severe stroke in May 2020 caused by an overdose of prescription medicines. The actress confessed how she’d almost died due to that incident.

Kevin McEnroe, 37, her oldest child with former husband, John McEnroe, confessed that he and his siblings had anticipated the phone call about his mother being in hospital due to an overdose. He also revealed that Tatum, 59, suffered several seizures and went into cardiac arrest.

Tatum O'Neal and Ryan O'Neal in "Paper Moon" circa 1973 | Source: Getty Images

Tatum O’Neal and Ryan O’Neal in “Paper Moon” circa 1973 | Source: Getty Images

Kevin admitted that there were moments they didn’t think their mother would make it, but she luckily did. Besides Kevin, Tatum’s other adult children are Emily, 32, and Sean, 35. They, too, worried she might never speak or walk again.

The Oscar Award-winning star had spent the past three years in different rehabilitation (rehab) facilities trying to regain her memory, strength, and reading and writing abilities. The actress had struggled with addiction problems for decades and admitted:

“I’ve been through a lot.”

Ryan O'Neal and his daughter Tatum on the 22nd-floor terrace of Hotel Pierre, New York City, on May 11, 1973 | Source: Getty Images

Ryan O’Neal and his daughter Tatum on the 22nd-floor terrace of Hotel Pierre, New York City, on May 11, 1973 | Source: Getty Images

Ryan’s daughter started using and abusing prescription medication early in the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of the medicine was opioids prescribed for her rheumatoid arthritis, neck, and back pain.

In May 2020, she overdosed on morphine, opiates, and pain medication, but a friend luckily found her in her Century City apartment, and she was rushed to a hospital. At the time, Tatum had become isolated while suffering from chronic pain and COVID-19.

Kevin believed his mother felt no hope for herself, and during her hospitalization, she was diagnosed with aphasia. The disorder came about through the brain’s language center being damaged, and it was discovered that Tatum’s right frontal cortex was affected.

Her hospital stay was riddled with scares, like when they thought she’d gone deaf, blind, and mute. The actress failed to communicate when she got out of the coma and didn’t know where she was. To add insult to injury, coronavirus restrictions stopped her family from seeing her in the hospital.

Kevin and his siblings communicated with their mother through video and phone calls, but Emily also visited her by standing behind a glass partition. The actress attended regular therapy for the next two years after being placed under medical supervision and fought to regain her memory.

While the “Paper Moon” star still couldn’t recall some things, her vocabulary improved. Her oldest child revealed that the things that had led his mother to take the medication were still there, but she was now taking part in twelve-step meetings and working with a physician. Tatum said:

“I’ve been trying to get sober my whole life. Every day, I am trying.”

While Tatum had the incredible support of all her children, one person who took time to be added to the equation was her famous father. Ryan once tried hitting on his daughter because he didn’t recognize her.

How Long Did Ryan and Tatum Stop Talking?

In 2009, Ryan, 68, confessed that he tried chatting up Tatum, 45, at Farrah Fawcett’s funeral because he didn’t recognize her after not seeing her for a “few years.” He recalled a gorgeous blonde woman approaching before embracing him after placing his late lover’s casket in the hearse.

The last time Moore’s ex-husband was with his daughter and grandchildren was in 2003…

Tatum O'Neal and her father, Ryan O'Neal, at the 30th-anniversary screening of "Paper Moon" on August 21, 2003, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Tatum O’Neal and her father, Ryan O’Neal, at the 30th-anniversary screening of “Paper Moon” on August 21, 2003, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

The actor asked Tatum if she had a drink or a car before she called him “Daddy” and told him who she was! Ryan said he was only trying to joke around with a strange Swedish woman, only to discover that she was his daughter.

He admitted that the incident was their relationship in a nutshell, and it had been a few years since they saw each other. In 2011, the actress revealed in her first memoir, “A Paper Life,” that she experienced a neglected childhood and tried alcohol and drugs after her parents divorced.

Her follow-up book was titled “Found,” and her father disapproved of it, with the actress revealing how she and Ryan weren’t “getting along” then. Tatum felt her father didn’t see her for the person she’d become or in a positive light because of his anger issues.

The last time Ryan was with his daughter and grandchildren was in 2003, during the 30th anniversary of “Paper Moon.” Tatum and Ryan had starred together in the 1973 movie, but it took seventeen years before they would reunite in September 2020.

Sean shared an Instagram image of their reunion and called it “one of the most memorable photos” of his life. On April 21, 2023, Tatum and her father proved that they’d wholly reconciled when she shared an Instagram photo of them smiling while sitting on a bed in Los Angeles, California. She wished him a happy birthday before declaring her love in the caption.