So True? So False? Is Tatum O'Neal Back in Rehab After a Cocaine Relapse?!

Actress was arrested in 2008 for purchasing crack cocaine and has battled substance addiction most of her adult life; now, her rep updates E! News on the current state of her health

By Rebecca Macatee Feb 29, 2012 6:10 PMTags
Tatum O'NealAP Photo/Evan Agostini

Tatum O'Neal has famously struggled with substance abuse for years. Now, rumors have surfaced that the 48-year-old Academy Award-winning actress is back in rehab after relapsing on cocaine last month.

E! News talked to the former child star's rep, who tells us this report is...

So false.

"Tatum O'Neal has had back issues, had back surgery and went to a place that could supervise her use of prescribed pain killers until the pain had subsided," her rep tells us. "She will always seek supervision when taking prescription medication that has addictive potential."

Fortunately in this instance, O'Neal wasn't involved with illegal drugs, but this certainly hasn't always been the case. Back in 2008, she was arrested for purchasing crack cocaine outside of her New York City home. She pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and agreed to complete a drug treatment program.

In her autobiography, A Paper Life, O'Neal chronicles her illicit drug use, including her addiction to heroin. She alleges physical and emotional abuse from her father, Ryan O'Neal, was a major cause of her drug use. The two were estranged for nearly 25 years, and restored their relationship in 2011 on the OWN series Ryan and Tatum: The O'Neals.

In the 1980s, she stopped using drugs, took a break from acting and married tennis legend John McEnroe in 1986. The couple divorced in 1992 after having three children together, and the actress resumed using again.

She returned to the silver screen in the mid-'90s and later had a recurring role on Rescue Me. She competed in the second season of Dancing With the Stars and has a role in the upcoming Danny Green flick Mr. Sophistication.

Sadly, Tatum's addiction issues run in her family. Her half-brother, Redmond O'Neal, is currently in court-ordered rehab after having been arrested in August on heroin possession charges.