Actress Tatum O'Neal 'arrested on drug charge'

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The Independent Culture

Oscar-winning actress Tatum O'Neal has been arrested after buying crack cocaine near her home in Manhattan, police said today.

The 44-year-old was seen making the purchase yesterday evening and has been charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance.

O'Neal, daughter of actor Ryan O'Neal, became the youngest person to win an Oscar for her role in 1973's "Paper Moon."

She chronicled her struggles with addiction in her memoir, "A Paper Life".

A stunned O'Neal initially told police she was "doing research for a part," a police source said, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

When she was searched and two bags of drugs - one with crack, one with ordinary cocaine - and an unused crack pipe were found, she changed her story, it said.

It said she told officers: "Today was the first time I was relapsing, but you guys saved me! Can you let me go?"

O'Neal's arrest comes eight months after she publicly warned Britney Spears to seek "recovery and get her disease of addiction together."

"I relate to her and feel really sad for her," O'Neal told the Entertainment Tonight show.

"I did everything that she doesn't want to do."

O'Neal married tennis star John McEnroe in 1986 and had three children before they divorced in 1992.

In her memoirs she revealed that her addiction to heroin in 1995 led to her losing custody of her children to McEnroe.