Tatum O'Neal Still Learning to Read and Write Again Following Coma Due to Near-Fatal Stroke

The 'Wicked Wicked Games' actress talks about her health ordeals, recalling her first reaction when she woke up from coma after a stroke and the damage it had on her body.

AceShowbiz - Tatum O'Neal nearly lost her life after suffering a stroke. The 59-year-old actress had been battling aphasia - a disorder that results from damage to the part of the brain that is responsible for language - following the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic when, according to People, she had been abusing prescription medications but woke up from a coma to find she could no longer communicate and is still trying to teach herself to read and write again.

"I woke up in a coma without any words, without anything. I didn't know where I was, I didn't know what to think, I didn't know what to do and I had no, no, no words at all. Nothing," she told People. "And nobody could figure out what was gonna go on, if I was gonna die or if I was going to live and lived."

"It is a miracle. I take it a day at a time, I don't wanna think too forward about it because I don't know, I gotta think for my learning for my words for my brain as I get better. But I still can't really read and write yet. It is what it is. I wish that I was able to do the more actual reading and actual writing which I've loved to do my whole life."

The Academy Award star - who famously dated late superstar Michael Jackson in the late 1970s but was then married to tennis player John McEnroe from 1986 until 1984 and has Kevin, 37, Sean, 35, and 32-year-old Emily with him - went on add that she is "trying so hard" to achieve sobriety and is "crying a lot more" than she ever has done throughout her "hard" life, but is hoping that that will help her move on.

She added, "To be sober is the part about going forward and not back. I don't wanna drink anymore and I don't wanna use anymore but I'm doing so much better about that and I'm doing so many meetings. I'm impressed with myself about the meetings."

"I'm trying so hard with sobriety, just every day, sometimes three or four times a day on Zoom and that helps me so much. I've had a hard, hard, hard, hard life and I rarely cry but I am crying a lot more lately and that's a very good thing for my life in general as I keep going forward in my life."

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