In her first TV interview since her drug bust, the actress calls her police scrape "too close for comfort"

By Karen J. Quan
Updated September 11, 2008 05:55 PM

In her first in-depth TV interview since her drug bust earlier this year, Tatum O’Neal tells Oprah Winfrey she was embarrassed and humiliated.

“There’s no good way to talk about what happened to me,” the Oscar winner, 44, confides on The Oprah Winfrey Show set to air Friday, Sept. 12.

“I can’t explain it, except that I know what I can do today to make it better for myself,” says O’Neal, ”

After struggling for years with cocaine and heroin addiction, O’Neal was arrested by police in June for allegedly purchasing two bags of cocaine from a dealer near her Manhattan home.

“I got close to relapsing,” she says. “It was close enough. Too close for comfort.”

Although caught allegedly buying, O’Neal insists she’s still clean and sober – because she never consumed any drugs. Yet had it not been for the police intervention, O’Neill admits she would have relapsed. “I was almost at my year [of not using drugs], she says, “and I chose not to start over.”

Fame Plays a Role

After pleading guilty to disorderly conduct, O’Neal entered a plea deal that required her to undergo two half-day sessions in a drug-treatment program and pay a $95 fine. If everything is completed to the court’s satisfaction, the charges will be dropped.

Winfrey also asked the former child star – who’s appeared on FX’s Rescue Me and, most recently, the TV movie Fab Five: The Texas Cheerleader Scandal – if her personal situation was more difficult because she’s famous.

“I’ve never not been famous,” replies O’Neal, “so I don’t know what it would be like.”