Tatum O'Neal on Redmond O'Neal: 'I've Never Seen a More Scary Side of Addiction'

The actress reveals her fears for the troubled son of Ryan O'Neal and Farrah Fawcett

Photo: Splash News Online

Redmond O’Neal, the only son of Ryan O’Neal and Farrah Fawcett, has struggled with a serious drug addiction for many years. Now that a Los Angeles Superior Court judge has revoked his probation and issued a no-bail bench warrant for his arrest in April, his half sister, Tatum O’Neal, admits she is extremely worried for his safety – and his life. “I love him, but I have never seen a more scary side of addiction,” O’Neal, 51, tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

O’Neal, 51, last saw Redmond, who’s been arrested numerous times on drug- and weapons-related charges, some eight months ago when he visited her at her Los Angeles home. “He’s got addiction problems so bad that it breaks my heart,” says O’Neal. “Nobody knows what to do with Redmond. From what I’ve seen, there is no way he’s going to survive.”

“I wanted him to have a safe place to put his head down, not on the streets and not with his dealer,” says O’Neal, whose own battle with addiction was documented in her 2004 memoir A Paper Life. “He’s been so kind to me. I try to love him so he can love himself.”

It’s a glimpse of the troubled 30-year-old that few have seen. “I told him how beautiful and how strong he is and ‘You can do this,’ ” she says of urging him to quit drugs. “I asked him, why don’t you come to a [12-step] meeting with me? He said, ‘I don’t want to go to any meetings.’ I wanted to mother him. Now that his mother is gone, I wanted him to know there was a woman in his life he could turn to. But unfortunately the disease has overtaken him.”

The family’s cycle of addiction is the theme of a well-received new novel, Our Town, by Tatum’s son Kevin McEnroe. The book is a devastating fictional account of the life of Tatum’s mom, the beautiful and fragile actress Joanna Moore, an alcoholic and pill addict. Of his family’s long history of addiction, McEnroe says, “I think more than addiction and alcoholism, what was passed down to us was not believing in yourself – and that pairs very well with alcohol and substance abuse.”

For the full interview with Tatum O’Neal and Kevin McEnroe, pick up a copy of this week’s PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

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