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Interviews with Alexis Stewart, David Chesnoff, Tatum O'Neal

Aired October 22, 2004 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Martha Stewart's daughter Alexis Stewart, in her first and only interview since her mother went to prison. What's it like for Martha? Her only daughter, Alexis, talking only to me.
And then, Tatum O'Neal, the adorable Oscar winner from "Paper Moon" is telling some shocking tales of growing up in Hollywood, with physical abuse, sexual molestation, drugs and suicide attempts. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

One note: We are in New York and will be in New York right through election night. And our guests on Monday night will be Senator John Edwards, the vice-presidential nominee of the Democratic Party and Senator Kerry's daughters, Vanessa and Alexandra.

We welcome to LARRY KING LIVE a return visit for Alexis Stewart, Martha Stewart's daughter, and David Chesnoff. He's Martha Stewart's attorney and friend. He filed an appeal on Martha Stewart's conviction -- conviction, rather, on Wednesday, and we'll discuss that with him in a moment.

It's been two weeks since she's been in prison. How many times have you seen her?


KING: How often are you allowed to go? What's the rules?

STEWART: You can go Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday and holidays.

KING: What kind of trip is it from New York to remote West Virginia?

STEWART: It's a good eight hours.

KING: You drive it?

STEWART: I drove last time. Flying takes almost as long, so -- because you have to make a connection and drive.

KING: So how's she doing?

STEWART: She's fine. She's fine, you know. Friends of mine I think are sometimes uncomfortable whether or not they should say, you know, how's your mother? And I understand that. It's weird. What would be really weird and uncomfortable is if my mother were really a criminal, but she's not. So she's doing her job. KING: All right. Since you view it that way...


KING: ... and she views herself as not a criminal, isn't that harder?

STEWART: Well, my...

KING: If someone did something, at least they could say, well, I deserve this.

STEWART: It might be more difficult to stomach having to be there, but it's not more difficult to stand up and say, you know, I didn't do anything wrong. I am, you know, an innocent person and...

KING: Do they all wear the same clothes in that prison?

STEWART: Essentially, of sweats or khakis. It's actually an outfit not unlike one she would wear in normal life.

KING: I'll get to you in a minute, David. I haven't forgotten. Has she made friends?

STEWART: Yeah, lots of friends. The inmates are wonderful, really lovely women.

KING: Is she popular among them, do you gather?

STEWART: I think so. I think so. Yeah.

KING: What was it like when she went that morning?

STEWART: It was horrible, it was really upsetting.

KING: Did you go with her?

STEWART: Yes. I went with her. I went with her. And to leave her there was just miserable. Very upsetting. I got to go see her, luckily, that afternoon, and just to tell you who's holding up better, as usual, one of the inmates, or maybe it was a visitor, another visitor, said -- asked who was the younger sister? So she withstood it much better than I did.

KING: So what's the procedure in that prison, that's a federal prison, for visitors?

STEWART: You have to submit a form.

KING: Does she have a list of who can come?

STEWART: Yes. She has a list. I think it's about 20 people long, at the most. And you submit the form. You get there early in the morning or anytime between, I think, 8:00 and 8:00 at night. And you have to -- you go in basically with nothing.

KING: They search, or they take away your handbag?

STEWART: You just don't bring it in, you leave it in the car. You're not allowed to even bring your handbag in.

KING: And what's the setting like where you meet?

STEWART: It's relatively comfortable. Open room, not unlike an airport waiting room.

KING: Can you go outside?

STEWART: You can go outside in a specific area and take a walk, or sit in the sun.

KING: What does she talk about?

STEWART: Well, we talk about the normal things. You know, we play scrabble, and...

KING: You play scrabble?

STEWART: Yes. She was having a lot of fun playing scrabble until I started beating her. Now she decided she doesn't want to play.

KING: You've visited her too, David?

DAVID CHESNOFF, MARTHA STEWART'S ATTORNEY: Yes, I've been down to see her. I went along with Walter Dellinger and Marty Weinberg, the fellows who worked on the brief together with me. And we went over the brief with her, actually, the purpose of the visit -- because Martha was very interested in seeing that it was a good brief and a good appeal. And we had a great visit with her.

KING: If you win this appeal, it's a Pyhrric victory, isn't it? She's in prison?

CHESNOFF: Well, she's in prison, and of course everybody was upset that she's in prison, especially the people on the appeal who actually believe in her factual innocence.

KING: But if she wins, what?

CHESNOFF: If she wins, her name is cleared.


KING: ... before she gets out?

CHESNOFF: No, but perhaps she will be out to hear us argue the appeal, which would make me very happy.

KING: What if they say new trial?

CHESNOFF: We're ready to go.

KING: You'd go back through a new trial again?

CHESNOFF: Absolutely.

KING: What happens if they say new trial, and God forbid for her, it's guilty in the new trial. Does she serve time again?

CHESNOFF: Well, I don't think that's what happens in the law. I think that the end has already occurred, actually. She has served her sentence. Perhaps if we win the appeal, the government will see the error of its way and not even bring a new trial. And that would be the just thing to do, in light of the fact that there were so many errors committed in prosecuting her. The unfairness of this prosecution and the unfairness of the trial is the thrust of what we're arguing.

KING: Can she do business in prison?

STEWART: No, she cannot.

KING: She can't talk about work? Or she can talk about work, right? Or what? What can she...

STEWART: I don't know what the specifics are. Luckily, I'm not that involved with the company at this point to need to worry about what...

KING: What can and can't she do, David, company-wise?

CHESNOFF: She's not allowed to perform company business. It's just not permitted.

KING: So she can't get on the phone and they can't tell her what the magazine is going to do next month?

CHESNOFF: No, but...

STEWART: I think they could tell her, but she might not be able to comment on it. Right?

CHESNOFF: Right. And she's in good -- you know, she left the magazine for a reason, to get it behind her, to get back to work, and it's in great hands. That was the whole idea. She has people that she's worked with and trained for years and years, and for this five month hiatus, she's comfortable that she will follow the prison regulations and the company will do well.

KING: Do they monitor her phone calls?

CHESNOFF: They can.

KING: What do the guards, the wardens, what are the people like who run the prison?

STEWART: They're very friendly and polite and helpful. They've been very helpful getting her in there without a fuss and helping me go visit, you know, the first day. KING: Does she get any extra treatment?


KING: No special treatment?

STEWART: No, not at all.

KING: What are her living conditions like? Is it a cell or a dorm?

STEWART: At the moment -- there are no cells with...

KING: Bars.

STEWART: ... bars. I don't even think there's a fence all the way around the property. The fence seems to be there more to keep people out than keep people in. And they -- she has one roommate at the moment, in a dorm-type building that has 80 people in it, I think.

KING: Does she watch television?

STEWART: She can. I think she watches at night, the news.

KING: I know in minimum security prisons, you can get up at 2:00 in the morning, if you want, and watch TV.

CHESNOFF: I don't think it's as loose as that, Larry. And she does a lot of reading, she's told me, and...

KING: You bring her books?

CHESNOFF: Well, we ship her books. She's allowed to have five hard cover books at a time, five soft covers.

STEWART: No, at the moment, I think she's only allowed to have five books...

KING: Total?

STEWART: It's one of the bizarre rules of the federal prison and camps is that you can five books at a time. And when you're done with them, you need to mail them home. You may not put them in the prison library, so -- which seems perverse and absurd.

KING: What is the reason for that?

STEWART: I guess they don't want the prison to be full of books. It would be a terrible thing. I don't -- I'm sure there are...

KING: Who chooses the books, does she tell you what she wants?

STEWART: I choose -- yes. Sometimes. Or I choose things that I think she would enjoy.

KING: Does she read daily newspapers? STEWART: Yes. She does. But she has to order those herself. So everyone else -- there are no newspapers supplied to the prison. There is no Internet access. So all of those really lovely women that are there, for some a very long time, unless they have the money to subscribe themselves, or -- all they have is the one television channel that everyone else is watching.

KING: No one knows her better than you. How is she really doing? In other words, how is her...

STEWART: She's great.

KING: ... attitude?

STEWART: She's great. She knows how long she has got to be there, and she's making the most of it.

KING: She's not putting it on for her daughter?


KING: Has her mother been there?

STEWART: Not yet.

KING: Will she be able to make that trip?

STEWART: Well, yes, she will.

KING: She's 90, isn't she?

STEWART: But it's not easy. It would have been a lot nicer if -- and more fair maybe, I mean, this is an issue for all prisoners that are being sentenced and sent away, they try to be near their families, but the Bureau of Prisons likes to assert their control. So even though the judge recommended that my mother be close to home, I think they may have made a point of sending her far away.

CHESNOFF: In defense of the Bureau of Prisons, though, Larry, they were also concerned that in Danbury, which was the place she wanted to be, it might be more accessible to paparazzi and things like that.

KING: Are paparazzi in West Virginia?

STEWART: Yes, they are. They're waiting...

KING: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) like they go over...

STEWART: Oh, yeah. They go, especially on the weekends, I think, and...

KING: Take picture of people going in?

STEWART: They've contacted -- they constantly follow you to your hotel room and knock on the door and ask to talk. And I think they've written a letter to every inmate, saying that any information they could provide would be very valuable.

KING: They'll pay for it?

STEWART: I think that means they're paying for it.

KING: We'll be right back with Alexis Stewart and David Chesnoff. Still to come, Tatum O'Neal. You're watching LARRY KING LIVE in New York. Don't go away.


KING: The question is obvious. Why you?

MARTHA STEWART: Well, we don't know.

KING: Why do you think you?

M. STEWART: Many people have said that it is because I am a woman. Many people have said it is because I am a business person, a successful business person. But maybe so. I don't know for sure. I think...

KING: What do you think?

STEWART: I don't know. I think it was a combination and a coincidence. And I think that even though the government says there's no such thing as coincidence, I think there is coincidence in this world.




M. STEWART: The past two years and seven months and it has been that long have been a time of immense difficulty, immense sacrifice and immense agony not only for me but for my loved ones. My daughter Alexis, the rest of my family, my friends, my colleagues, and all our business partners and all the related people of our extended family who depend on the good works of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia for their livelihoods and day-to-day existence.


KING: We're back with Alexis Stewart, Martha Stewart's daughter and David Chesnoff. This is her one and only interview since her mother went to prison. Has she been assigned a job?

STEWART: Not yet. It takes a while to get assigned a job. I think they like you to get comfortable.

KING: Does she do any kind of work? When she gets up in the morning what does she do?

STEWART: She exercises. There's a nice walk you can take, I think it's a mile and a half long. There's a nice gym with stairmasters and that kind of thing. She reads, and she gets up before anyone else, I think.

KING: Does everyone eat together?

STEWART: They do. There's breakfast, lunch and dinner.

KING: Knowing Martha, what does she say about the food and part two, has she changed any of the food?

STEWART: I'm sure she could give them quite a few pointers but I think that the budget is so limited that, you know, I'm not sure how much change they'd be willing to make.

KING: What does she say about the food?

STEWART: It's -- it's -- not very good.

KING: Airplane?

STEWART: It's not just that it's airplane. I think airplane would be better. It's just -- it's terrible. It's not going to affect her that badly because she's only there for five months. But people spend ten years there. And you have these people who want to learn, want to be rehabilitated, want to get out and know things and be good citizens. And they're not -- there's no budget to teach them anything, to feed them well enough so that when they get out, they won't in their old age be unhealthy and a burden to society because they'll be sick earlier than they should be.

KING: Do you expect your mom to get involved in causes?

STEWART: I hope she does.

KING: Do you think she will?

STEWART: I think she will.

KING: Because she's the one telling you these things, right?

STEWART: She is. Yes.

KING: Do you talk to other prisoners as well?


KING: You do. She's been typing in the library, it's been reported. Is she writing a diary, writing a book?

STEWART: Well, I think we've always expected her to write a book about her life. I don't think it will be limited to her time in prison, but, yes, she's always taking notes, ideas. She can't -- she can't e-mail anyone, so she often types up thoughts about her properties, or what she needs me to do, and then sends them to me.

KING: Can she give it to you? STEWART: No, she cannot give it to me. She can mail it to me.

KING: Wait a minute, she can't hand it to you but she can mail it to you?


KING: What's the chief argument in the appeal do you think where they will say we're going to overturn?

Well, everybody had this concept that somehow Martha was involved in corporate insider trading which was completely false.

KING: She was never charged with that?

CHESNOFF: Never charged with it, never did it. In fact, Martha didn't do anything wrong. The chief issue is the jury was permitted over and over again to hear the government talk about insider trading when there was no proof of it and most egregiously the court did not let Martha respond and explain to the jury why there was no insider trading. You had a juror who took it on himself to have a press conference on the courthouse steps to say how happy he was that they convicted her of insider trading. Combined with the fact that they played over and over again Bacanovic's SEC testimony which he gave under oath without allowing Martha Stewart's attorneys an opportunity to cross-examine him because they were in a join trial.

KING: Do you think that's a key to overturn?

CHESNOFF: Absolutely. Justice Scalia has just written it in the Crawford case and we believe it's right on point.

KING: She didn't take the stand so she couldn't say it was not insider trading, right?

CHESNOFF: There was defense. They had experts available. They had people from the company. The judge would not permit it.

KING: I see. By the way does she get letters in prison, are people writing to her?

STEWART: Yes. She's gotten at least 10,000 letters.

KING: 10,000 letters?

STEWART: As of last weekend.

KING: Does she get gifts? Do people send her things?

STEWART: She can't receive gifts so she asks that no one send her gifts and if they wish to send gifts or money they should send it to the American Cancer Society.

KING: How many times have you been there?

CHESNOFF: I've been down there one time. We had an extensive meeting and she's holding up well. But people need to remember, she's in prison and we're hoping to vindicate her because as I said earlier, Larry, we believe in her factual...

KING: Are you glad she went before the appeal?

CHESNOFF: No. I was very upset about it.

KING: You wanted her to stay out?

CHESNOFF: It was very difficult for me. My job as a lawyer is to keep people out. We had kept her out. The judge had given her permission to stay out. But she had business concerns. She was worried about her employees. That's Martha. I mean, Martha's a hardworking person. I think that's one of the reason why she's adjusting so well in prison. She's worked her whole life. She wasn't born with a silver spoon. She works 18 hour days. When I first met her, I saw her out in the garden with her dungarees rolled up. Being in jail is a state of mind and Martha's overcoming it.

KING: Were you glad she went in?

STEWART: No, of course, I wasn't glad she went in...

KING: No, I mean, getting it over with.

STEWART: But I understand her reasons.

Her life is her company. She wants to get back to work. What else could she do?

KING: Why is it called Camp Cupcake.

STEWART: I don't know. I think that's a very old name, why, because there's only women there. A cute thing to call it. I think that's from quite a while ago.

KING: Did she prepare to go to prison? How do you prepare to go to prison?

STEWART: You've got a lot to do to set your life in order before you go away.

KING: Bank accounts?

STEWART: Everything. With her, it's 100 times more than the average person.

KING: What clothes do you bring?

STEWART: You wear something in and they give you your clothes.

CHESNOFF: She prepared, though, like Martha Stewart would. She studied what happens when you get there, she got the rules from the Bureau of Prisons and learned them so she was prepared like other inmates are. She took it seriously and knew that she wanted to be as comfortable as could be and follow the rules. KING: Do they have a movie night?

STEWART: I don't know if they have a movie night.

CHESNOFF: I don't know that either.

CHESNOFF: There are four or five videos in the library, which I think she's watched all of them. There are also a lot of documentaries, so she can watch those.

KING: We'll be back in our remaining moments with Alexis Stewart and David Chesnoff. And then we'll meet Tatum O'Neal on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Senator Edwards and Alexandra Kerry on Monday night. Don't go away.



M. STEWART: Pundits are out there saying she should go in. Do they know what it's like to go to jail? I don't think they know.

KING: Everybody seems to all -- a lot of people are saying, I'd go through it, I'd get it over with.

M. STEWART: Why? Why do they say that? Would they do it themselves.

KING: They say it for you.

M. STEWART: Of course. It's easy to say what somebody else should do, but what to do is the problem.


KING: Alexis, "People" magazine reported that Martha has asked her fellow inmates to respect her privacy and not take photos of her. Are they allowed to have cameras there?

STEWART: No, they're not, but it seems that one of the visitors snuck one into the visiting area.

KING: And took a picture of her?


KING: That appeared?

STEWART: Yes. There are a few inmates that take pictures and you can buy them from -- it's a little service they provide. And you can purchase those pictures.

KING: Do they have like a PX where you can buy things like candy, gum? STEWART: It would be nicer if you could buy linens and fresh vegetables, but, yes, they do.

KING: The Secret Serviceman who later we found out who didn't tell the truth, and was acquitted, is he in the appeal?

CHESNOFF: Yes, he is, because of the significant fact is that we should have been able to show the jury that federal agents lie. This whole case was allegedly about Martha lying. She was never under oath, it was never recorded, the questions weren't written down, yet you had a federal Secret Service employee, the chief of their forensic lab perjure himself, you have a juror perjure himself. These are the kinds of things that as a trial lawyer, you could tell the jury, the government case would have gone up in smoke and Martha wouldn't be in prison.

KING: But he was acquitted.

CHESNOFF: Recently. But it's interesting, they were more zealous in their prosecution of Martha, apparently, than they were in the recent prosecution of this fellow.

KING: Now tell me, is your mother going to do a reality show when she comes out?

STEWART: She is working with Mark Burnett.

KING: The famous Mark Burnett.

STEWART: The famous Mark Burnett.

KING: What kind of show would it be, bringing up daughter?

STEWART: I hope not. I don't know exactly. I spent a week with both of them hiking up in Maine. But I haven't been privy to their private conversations.

KING: How do you think she'll deal with Thanksgiving and Christmas?

STEWART: I'm sure it will be very hard for her. She loves the holidays. But on Thanksgiving, a whole bunch of her family members are going down.

KING: Does she have friends that go too?

STEWART: Sure. Lots of friends of go and visit.

KING: When is her release date? If she serves a full 5 months, she's out when?

STEWART: Beginning of March.

KING: When will the appeal be heard?

CHESNOFF: That's up to the second circuit. But we estimate the oral argument will occur sometime right after the first of the year.

KING: Did Martha know you were coming here tonight?

STEWART: Yes, sure, I spoke to her right before.

KING: Anything she wanted to say to people?

STEWART: Well, she thanks everyone for all their letters. And she wants everyone to know that all those horrible things written about the camps and the inmates are not true. That obviously, it's not a great place to be, because it's a horrible thing to be in prison and lose your freedom, but the women there are wonderful and all those reports really harmed their families, made them worry.

KING: What kind of reports were they?

STEWART: Reports that there's abuse and violence in the camp. It's simply not true. And it's just sensationalism.

CHESNOFF: She also wanted everybody to know that she still has faith in the justice system, that this appeal is part of the system, to determine if a citizen got a fair trial, and she's confident that once the law and the facts are examined, that she's going to be vindicated.

KING: Because technically, she could save a lot of money, drop the appeal.

CHESNOFF: Well of course, but it's about her reputation and it's about the truth. She's was not guilty. And she's maintained that. She could have taken the easy road out many, many times but has insisted on telling the truth without blaming anybody else.

KING: Her co-defendant, Peter Bacanovic, he's still out?

CHESNOFF: He's out. And he's appealing as well.

KING: Has he been sentenced?

CHESNOFF: Yes. He received a sentence...

STEWART: The same sentence, wasn't it?

CHESNOFF: I think it's slightly longer.

KING: One other thing, Alexis, there are reports you're being groomed to take over Martha Stewart Omnimedia. How true is that?

STEWART: I think that's a large exaggeration. But I've been involved with -- heard about the company, helped my mother, consulted with my mother, been her confidante for the entire life of the company.

KING: Does that mean you might be interested?

STEWART: Yes. Well, you never know. KING: In other words, it's within the realm of possibilities. It does not disinterest you?

STEWART: No, it does not disinterest me.

KING: Give her our best.

STEWART: I shall.

KING: And thank you for coming.

CHESNOFF: Thanks a lot, Mr. King.

KING: Good luck, David.

No, it's Larry.

CHESNOFF: Thank you.

KING: Alexis Stewart, David Chesnoff on the subject of Martha Stewart. Still getting 10,000 letters.

STEWART: At least.

KING: And when we come back, Tatum O'Neal joins us. Don't go away.


KING: There is an extraordinary, new, gutsy revealing autobiography out. It's called "The Paper Life." The author is Tatum O'Neal, who earned a best supporting actress Oscar for her screen debut in the 1973 film classic, "Paper Moon." That was 31 years ago. Good grief.

She's the daughter of actor Ryan O'Neal and the late Joanna Moore, the ex-wife of John McEnroe with whom she shares three children.

Why did you write this?

TATUM O'NEAL, ACTRESS: You can't call them children anymore because one of them is 18!

KING: Three children and a grownup kid.

O'NEAL: That's right. One is 17. I wanted to tell my story.

KING: Because?

O'NEAL: Because I think it's an important story to tell for people. I have gone through a lot.

KING: Important rather than just appealing to their sense of the dramatic writing things about dad and mom and friends? O'NEAL: I always wondered when someone was going to say, why did you tell this story, Tatum? I've always tried to think, like, what am I going to say when someone just asks me point-blank, why did you tell this story?

There's just been so much that's happened and I just ended up in such a bad place. And I kept on living my life through the years, very publicly, and things kind of kept on getting worse and worse. And I went on Barbara Walters, as you know, after John wrote his book. And HarperCollins approached me and said, would you be interested in writing your story?

KING: Sort of like my side?

O'NEAL: Sort of like that. It was not something I enjoyed doing, by the way, the Barbara Walters. Not at all. Revealing I had a drug problem, revealing that I was imperfect, not that I thought I was perfect, I always thought I was extremely imperfect, but it was -- it was sort of like -- I was outing myself. So therefore, when I did write the -- when I did finally agree to write this book, which I knew would be very difficult for me to do, because I've been very afraid of my dad whom I love very much, and unfortunately it doesn't seem like that in the book, but I've been really afraid of him and afraid of John.

KING: Afraid?

O'NEAL: Yes, afraid.

KING: How much of this, in reading it, how much of this for you, was too much too soon?

O'NEAL: Like in my life?

KING: Yes. Career, Academy Award.

O'NEAL: Everything. You mean, like 8 is too young to work and have a crew of 30 waiting for you to do, like, "Go, Tatum, Go!"

KING: Why did they do it? Why didn't they let you be a kid?

O'NEAL: You mean, my dad?

KING: Yes.

O'NEAL: I don't know. Do you know my dad?

KING: I've met him a few times.

O'NEAL: I just don't think that he thinks like that. I mean, I think he's the kind of guy that thinks, Tatum, put her in a movie. I mean, he had me watching all these -- I don't think this is in my book. When I went to go do -- when I went to go see him do "Barry Lyndon," he had them run every single Kubrick movie. I was 10, before I won every single Kubrick movie that had ever been made.

KING: 10 years old?

O'NEAL: 10 years old, by myself on a stool. So that's his sensibility.

KING: It had to screw you up to start with? How about your mom?

O'NEAL: Am I screwed up? I don't know. I've been pretty good today.

KING: Screwed up then. How about your mom?

O'NEAL: I think I got screwed up. She was out of the picture, so young.

KING: She had nothing to do?

O'NEAL: By 7, she was -- she had lost custody.

KING: It was -- it was your dad that raised you?

O'NEAL: Yes.

KING: Why do you love him? You don't have to love him. A lot of people don't love their parents.

O'NEAL: I don't know that I forgive him but I think that I have a sense of love for him. I don't forgive him, it's a big difference. I don't forgive him and I don't feel sad about telling what he did. It's a different thing, I think.

KING: You knew it would anger him. It would create a -- you had to know it would create a stir?

O'NEAL: I don't really care. Because I think he has other kids that he has to be responsible for today. At some point, I had to say, what's for me, it's not for them. I love my brother, so, as mad as they are at me.

KING: How old were you when you married John McEnroe?

O'NEAL: 23.

KING: Was that a whirlwind romance?

O'NEAL: Yes.

KING: It lasted a while?

O'NEAL: I think nine years.

KING: Had three children?

O'NEAL: Yes.

KING: So it couldn't have been all unhappy?

O'NEAL: No. And it isn't all unhappy. I think write about that.

KING: What were the pluses of that marriage, aside from three terrific kids?

O'NEAL: Aside from that, I think he taught me a lot of discipline, I know he taught me a lot of discipline. You want more?

KING: Yes.

O'NEAL: We had a lot of fun. We went to a lot of basketball games. Are you showing?

KING: Did you watch him play a lot?

O'NEAL: Yes. I'm pretty sure I watched him play the longest match in Davis Cup history when I was pregnant with Sean. I watched him play a lot.

KING: What do you think about him now? He's the father of your kids.

O'NEAL: I think we go up...

KING: Do you watch his show?

O'NEAL: Yes, I've watched his show. I think we go back and forth. I have respect for John and hopefully he has some respect for me. I would like to hope that in the future that we can come to a better understanding with each other. I don't think we're in a great place right now. I don't know that this book has made him terribly happy.

KING: Is he a good father?

O'NEAL: Yes, he is.

KING: You write in the book that there are memories you've blocked. You blocked them out?

O'NEAL: There's one when my friend, Vivian Kubrick, Stanley's daughter said that my dad punched me in the face when I got nominated. That's about it.

Nominated for the Academy Award.

KING: I know but why would a father punch their daughter over so exciting a moment?

O'NEAL: Because I'm sure I said, ugh, I'm sure I did something like that.

KING: Were you a smart ass kid, too?

O'NEAL: Oh, yes, totally. I'm a smart ass adult.

KING: What do you do with your life? O'NEAL: Now?

KING: Yes.

O'NEAL: I audition. I spend time with my kids.

KING: Are you doing anything professionally?

O'NEAL: I did a "Law & Order Criminal Intent." I did "Sex and the City." I am auditioning, like I said.

KING: You're a very talented person. Wouldn't you think this would be rather easy to come back on the scene?

O'NEAL: I don't think it's easy, no. Do I think coming back to work is easy as an actress, being around for 30 years, no.

KING: Even though you're an accomplished actress who has won the highest award your industry gives?

O'NEAL: Yes, do I think that it's easy? I don't. I think that you have to really work hard. I'm willing to do that. So hopefully I will work as an actress professionally and it will be my living.

KING: Honestly do you think this book focusing so much attention on you getting a lot of attention is going to have some producer say, hey, she's box office again?

O'NEAL: I think that I'm disciplined and looking well and healthy. I think that will help me.

KING: Because you look great.

O'NEAL: Thanks. So do you, Larry.

KING: Was it hard to be honest?

O'NEAL: It's not hard for me to be honest. I am an honest person. I'm sort of like too honest. I just tend to like blurt it out. My friends say to me, just have an edit button, Tatum, please. It just tends to like not -- it goes from my heart out my mouth. I don't seem to run it through my head.

KING: When you finished was there anything you said, maybe I should take this out? Any second thoughts?

O'NEAL: Yes, there have been, certainly for my kids, they've asked me to please, did you have to put in, you know, mom, when I was little, you know, the substance abuse stuff.

KING: That had to bother you?

O'NEAL: My daughter has asked me. But there are mothers out there, I think, Larry, who maybe have gone through similar experiences and perhaps not been able to get their kids back and maybe not had the courage to fight through the embarrassment or the -- just the shame and not gone to treatment, because I've been to a number of treatment centers. I've gotten through it. Maybe they would just give up. And so perhaps I thought that was important and it was important for me to be able to say that and her to believe in herself some day if she ever has that problem. For me to say, you know what, this happens and you can get through if you believe in yourself.

KING: Our guest is Tatum O'Neal, the book, a heck of a read, is "A Paper Life." It's available wherever books are sold, of course. We're going to go to your phone calls. There's also been a statement released and we'll get to that in a while by both her father and brother. Don't go away.


O'NEAL: I ain't planning no more to sit in the back, not for no cow.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will you keep your voice down? And Miss Delight ain't no cow, she's a proper woman. She has a high school diploma. And right now she has to go to the bathroom, so you just get on down to the car.

O'NEAL: She always has to go to the bathroom. She must have a bladder the size of a peanut. I ain't getting back in that car, not until she gets out of it.




O'NEAL: I didn't think I had a little chance, only a tiny bit. I just thought that I wouldn't win. I just knew I wouldn't win, but I didn't know because I did.

Can I just say one more thing? I want to say hello to my father, who's way back in England, and I'm here. And I want to say hello.


KING: You sure looked like a happy kid. Were you acting there?

O'NEAL: No. I just...

KING: You were a happy kid?

O'NEAL: I don't know. I just think I look so little.

KING: How did the drug thing start?

O'NEAL: I think it probably started back sometime in the '70s.

KING: When you were how old?

O'NEAL: I just don't remember exactly. It was just always around.

KING: Your father part of that, too?

O'NEAL: You know, I've been getting some response that I've been blaming. And here's the thing, it was not just around my father, but it was around where I was growing up. I mean, it's always been around me. I do not blame him. It started from everyone around me.

KING: Schoolmates?

O'NEAL: School, as much as I went to school, and that was very little. But it was around everyone. And it really started, you know, when people are like, around 14, like, hey, use this to lose weight.

KING: Did you try everything?

O'NEAL: Eventually, everything, yes.

KING: There's a statement from your brother before we took a phone call.

O'NEAL: Which brother?

KING: Griffin who says, "I am deeply disappointed in my sister Tatum's book. I love her very much. I worry about her old habits controlling her life, causing her to forget how things really happened. It saddened me she told our story so incredibly wrong and out of context, specifically regarding our Father Ryan.

There's a lot of hurt and pain between us all, but my dad loved us the best way he knew how to. I hope that one day we can resolve all our issues privately and amicably.

O'NEAL: This is Grif, my brother, Griffin. Well, you know, I think that statement's you know, sad and speaks for itself. I mean, he's...

KING: Hurts you?

O'NEAL: I thanked him a lot in the book for helping me. He must have a lot of need for being loved by my dad. He must still be very desperate for my dad's approval.

KING: Feel sorry for him?

O'NEAL: Absolutely.

KING: Let's take a call. Tampa, Florida, for Tatum O'Neal. Hello.

CALLER: Hello, Larry. Hello, Tatum.


O'NEAL: Hi. CALLER: Hi. And thanks a lot for taking my call. As a recovering addict myself, I just want to say, stay with it. My life is so much better.

My question to you, Tatum is, how long have you been clean and sober? And how is it going? And what are you doing to stay clean and sober so everything else works out?

O'NEAL: Well, thank you for calling. You know what, that's the one thing I keep personal. Everything is in my book, like every single solitary thing that has happened to me in my life, I put out there. So that's the one thing that I do, because a lot of people sort of will question every day and go like, you have 3,000 days or I said it on Oprah.

KING: You don't keep a record of days?

O'NEAL: I do but I don't tell the public.

KING: Did you get help?

O'NEAL: I've been to many treatment centers.

KING: Betty Ford, too?

O'NEAL: Not that one.

KING: You didn't go to Betty Ford?

O'NEAL: I didn't go to the West Coast, I was near my kids. But I want to finish that I go to 12 Step.

KING: Oh, you do?

O'NEAL: Yep.

KING: Here's a statement issued by your dad, Ryan O'Neal.

"It is unfortunately that Tatum has chosen to write a book that depicts the life she lives in such a negative manner. We are all responsible for our actions and must live with reminders of them daily, Tatum included. It's a sad day when malicious lies are told in order to become a best seller.

As a father, it's my hope that this book was written to serve as her therapy. And if this is what she needed to do to wake each day and live with herself, I can only support her healing process, good, bad and ugly. It's now my hope that she gets sober so that her perceptions of the future is nothing like her clouded memories of the past.

O'NEAL: Well, that's troubling. And he's a sort of angry, bitter guy who doesn't even know me. The last time he saw me was 2 years ago. So he, he -- well, there you go. Yes, he doesn't know me. And I don't know how he could possibly make a statement like that.

KING: Maybe your book hurt him?

O'NEAL: Well, I'm sure it did. He has gone on record admitting to knocking out poor Griffin's front teeth. So, you know -- and Redmond, my little brother is in a -- his probably his 15th long-term treatment. And my other brother has been through 4 years of, of therapeutic communities. And I've been to 7 treatments. So, what is that saying about our communal father. He's the one guy that we all have in common.

KING: Do you remember the age about when it started to go bad? Because in the clip we see of you at the Academy Award, you looked like one normal, happy, attractive, talented, fun-loving kid.

O'NEAL: Yes. But I'm like 9.

KING: Nothing was going wrong at 9?

O'NEAL: Well, no. But I had no parents at that Academy Awards and I didn't have any parents up until -- I haven't had any my whole life. You know, so things go wrong.

KING: Classic dysfunctional family is what we're seeing here?

O'NEAL: Yes. With addiction sort of thrown in you know.

KING: How did you get off it?

O'NEAL: Well, you fight. You know, you fight, you have kids. I have kids. I wanted to be there for them. My mother did not. She died in my arms from lung cancer and from -- and from substance abuse. I just really, really wanted to fight this battle.

I wanted to get off. I wanted to -- I believe in myself. I believe I that I have a career ahead of me, too. I believe that I have more work in me and I wanted to be a power of example to people.

KING: What is life like? Do you have a boyfriend?

O'NEAL: I do not.

KING: You don't date?

O'NEAL: Well, I kind of -- I do, actually. I have some friends I hang out with.

KING: You're not romantically involved with anyone?


KING: We'll be right back with more moments with Tatum O'Neal. The book is "A Paper Life." You're watching LARRY KING LIVE.

Monday day night, Senator John Edwards, Venessa and Alexandra Kerry -- what were you saying?

O'NEAL: I get so silly. KING: I don't think you're silly. We'll be back with Tatum O'Neal right after this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Didn't I let you hang around with me while I cleaned the pools.

O'NEAL: While you cleaned the pools? Who are you trying to kid? I'm the one who did all the work. Sat there and drink your beer all day. By the 4th beer, you were out cold. I had to call my mom to come pick us up.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What about your appendix? Who rushed you to the hospital? Who saved your life? Would you be alive if it weren't for me?

O'NEAL: Yes. But when you weren't saving people's lives, you were sitting around the apartment drunk. Then you just split. You made my mother sick. You know, she wanted to marry you. Boy, was she dumb.



KING: We're back with Tatum O'Neal. The book is "A Paper Life." Why did you go public about addiction? Before the book or anything, why did you go public?

O'NEAL: Well, it had been public. It had been public on Barbara Walters. And I had gotten very sick publicly. And I think it's important when you're an actress, and I had been public, people were photographing me and finding out. I was not getting away with it. I was getting photographed looking not well.

KING: This was as little as a couple years ago, right?

O'NEAL: Right. Three or four years ago. So, I thought, well, I might as wel be -- because I was hiding from being -- sort of saying it myself.

KING: How close did you come in that suicide attempt?

O'NEAL: Years ago?

KING: Yes.

O'NEAL: Because I came closer actually from using, sadly enough.

KING: Which is a kind of suicide?

O'NEAL: Well, yes. Well, I don't think -- I think I -- I think I was a little girl trying desperately to kill myself, not knowing really how. In the book, which I talk about. And then as an adult, I came perilously close. KING: Through addiction?

O'NEAL: Yes.

KING: Oxinarte, California, for Tatum O'Neal. Hello.

CALLER: Hi, Tatum.

O'NEAL: What's up?

CALLER: I just want to tell you, I have to disagree with your dad, and I am very confident your memory is working quite properly. I had to work through the same childhood issues that you have. And I read an excerpt from your book. And my question is with all that, the crazy sexual situations you were thrown into as a child, all that mass of craziness, how did you pull through, to be such a beautiful, just balanced woman, caring about your children? How did you do? It's a miracle.

O'NEAL: Thank you so much. And there's this like delay, so I keep on looking at myself and feeling really awkward. So just bear with me. Thank you. You know, you just try not to be bitter, that's my main thing. Like I try to be hopeful, and continue to like forgive.

The thing about writing this book, is it was really difficult to write. And it was not like cathartic, but now it is. And just try to like -- I love my brother, who wrote that horrendous thing and lied, Grif, because he's a big liar. Can I just say for the record?

KING: You can say whatever you want.

O'NEAL: He's a big liar. He says he walked into the punch that knocked his 3 teeth out that my dad gave him. Because my dad, he's a violent person.

KING: Why is he lying?

O'NEAL: Because he's so abused, like I think his spirit is broken. That's what happens to people who are abused

KING: You think your dad is still abusing?

O'NEAL: Well, I think he's an abusive problem, go fix this problem, Griffin. And then Griffin goes, OK, daddy, I'll get some love, I'll get some love. And then I'll get discard Griffin again.

KING: You've got less than a minute. Do you ever fear going back?

O'NEAL: Everyday. Every single day.

KING: Tempted?

O'NEAL: I think it's sort of always lurking back that it's the answer, like I can -- there's this answer in my mind that if I good back to that lifestyle, it's like a -- not the answer, I can assure you.

KING: I hope you make it. Wish you the best.

O'NEAL: Thank you so much.

KING: It is a heck of a read.

O'NEAL: Thank you so much.

KING: The book is "A Paper Life." The author is Tatum O'Neal. The publisher is HarperCollins.

And earlier we heard from Martha Stewart's daughter and her appeals lawyer.

And we'll come back in a couple of minutes and to tell you about the weekend and Monday night. We're in New York until election night and through election night. Don't go away.


KING: By the way, some of the clips we showed you during Tatum O'Neal's appearance were from "Paper Moon" and other movies. Are also available from Paramount Home Entertainment and from her own collection as well.

Tomorrow night, we have a big weekend coming. We'll repeat Mary Kay Letourneau on Sunday. And Monday night, Senator John Edwards and Venessa and Alexandra Kerry will join us.


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