John McEnroe on his divorce with Tatum O'Neal: "I went through a difficult divorce, I think a lot of people relate to that also"

John McEnroe with Tatum O
John McEnroe and Tatum O'Neal were married for six years.

Tennis great John McEnroe recently opened up on his divorce from his first wife Tatum O'Neal.

In 1994, O'Neal and McEnroe divorced after six years of marriage. Famously contentious, their divorce involved allegations of drug addiction on both sides. O'Neal lost custody of her children after their divorce and developed a heroin addiction. However, she eventually got clean.

The American recently sat down for an interview with Sunrise after the release of his biopic, 'McEnroe,' back in September. When asked how it feels to share his tale with the entire world, he said that rather than going back and reliving the matches, he believes the story is a good approach to show people how he grew up to be who he is.

"I'm proud of it. It's a journey. I think people get a good insight to sort of how I was feeling at the time and sort of the path that took me to where I am now. So I think that story, in a way, is more hopefully interesting than going back and rehashing the matches," McEnroe said.

The 63-year-old also discussed his divorce from his first wife, O'Neal, saying that it was difficult but that he was able to move past it and get a second opportunity. This, along with the difficulties of parenting, is something that many people can relate to, according to him.

"I think there's other things, such as being a parent, for example, that a lot of people can relate to and sort of the struggles of even being married. I went through a difficult divorce and then able to come out the other side and get a second chance. I think a lot of people relate to that also," he stated.

After coming out of a contentious marriage, John McEnroe wed Patty Smyth in 1997. He is happily married since and frequently attributes his professional success to his wife.

"The toughest thing I ever had to do is try to figure out how to be a good father" - John McEnroe

John McEnroe pictured at the 2021 Laver Cup.
John McEnroe pictured at the 2021 Laver Cup.

John McEnroe is the father of six kids. Along with a stepchild, he has three children with his ex-wife Tatum O'Neal and two with his current wife Patty Smyth.

The seven-time Grand Slam champion said that trying to figure out how to be a "good father" was the "toughest" part for him in a 2018 interview.

"I’ve learned that, while my parents, I believe, were really good parents, that by far and away, for me, the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do was to try to figure out how to be a good father and a good parent. There’s nothing more satisfying, but more difficult," John McEnroe said.

Additionally, he said that he was sometimes too protective of his older children and that experience alters some things and makes them more "flexible."

"I suppose and maybe I was, in some ways, too protective with the older ones. You know, I was the oldest, so, you know, ‘You’ve got to be home at 10:00!’ So, you get to be looser as time goes on because you realize that you’ve got to be able to be more flexible and maybe you don’t have to be quite as intense about certain things. You live and learn and certainly, it depends on the person you’re with," he added.


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Edited by Anirudh
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