John McEnroe acknowledges that he has not always been the best father, but he is finally able to look himself in the eye and be at peace with his shortcomings as a person. Tatum O’Neal, an Oscar winner, was McEnroe’s wife from 1986 to 1994.
Due to O’Neal’s alleged heroin abuse, the courts in 1998 granted full custody of the couple’s three children to McEnroe. McEnroe has been married to the same woman, Patty Smith, for the past 23 years, after getting divorced for the third time.
McEnroe’s first two children were born when he was 27, and the pressure to succeed as a tennis player and raise a family proved too much for the young American.
McEnroe: I have tried to be a better person.
Will I just sit here and tell my kids that life isn’t worth living because the glass is half empty? McEnroe expressed concern over the message this sent to his children and other children in an interview with Tennis365.
It’s in our nature to think about what might have been. It’s important to show that I’m better off now than I was before, and that my outlook has evolved as a result of this experience.
This is crucial. A message to convey, and I pray that those who encounter it take it to heart if my offspring are any indication. Now, more than ever before, I can look at myself in the mirror and think, “Hey, at least this guy has grown as a person over the years.”
A little better each year was his goal. McEnroe has stated that being a great dad to his children is one of his top priorities, alongside his desire to continue to be a top athlete. I don’t know who I’m supposed to be. Take care of the kids while I handle this ranking crisis. Not at all; in fact, I was attempting to do both as effectively as possible. But my children come first, or I shouldn’t have them,” McEnroe continued.