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Tatum O’Neal has sat through Paper Moon more times than she cares to remember and is still happy to watch the sentimental road movie whenever it is shown on television.

Tatum, after all, was its Oscar-winning star at the age of ten, while her father Ryan was her co-star.

Now living alone in a modest West Hollywood flat, save for the company of a dog and a cat, the black-and-white film is a rich source of ­nostalgia, justifiable pride and, as Tatum now admits, near overwhelming regret about the path her life has taken.

‘I saw the movie again recently and I wish I could talk to the child I was then,’ she says sadly.

Then her alcoholic, drug-addict mother proved incapable of looking after Tatum and her brother Griffin.

So the two of them were returned to the ‘care’ of Ryan, a man more interested in pursing sexual conquests with the likes of Ursula Andress, ­Barbra Streisand, Bianca Jagger and Diana Ross than fulfilling his duties as a parent.

Her arrest, just two years ago, for buying crack cocaine on the streets of New York marked a humiliating nadir.

She struck up a volatile relationship with John Mc Enroe, then the enfant terrible of tennis and the most successful player in the world.

Close to tears as she recalls the past, Tatum explains that she had to develop a veneer of toughness.

But for all the signs of recovery, she remains a ­vulnerable character.

At the time, her father was in Europe filming Barry Lyndon, and her mother was strung out on drugs.

Tatum attended the awards with her paternal grandparents and later ended up at home, alone, with no celebration.

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