Tatum O’Neal is “figuring out how beautiful and honest women can be with each other and how there’s a different closeness than you'll have with any man,” and she hopes to inspire other women to discover this, the actress writes in an article about dating women in the September issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
Oscar-winner O’Neal, who revealed in May that she had been “dating mostly women recently,” notes in the Bazaar piece that her experience with women goes back farther than that. “I had experiences with women prior to my marriage, and I had experiences after the divorce,” writes the 51-year-old, who was married to tennis star John McEnroe from 1986 to 1994. “But because I was raised in such a tough, masculine, male-oriented environment, it just didn’t even seem possible to date women seriously until I hit the determining age of half a century, which is when you figure out what you like and what you don’t — or at least I did. I’m not making a decision one way or the other, but I think that there is a softer, more gentle quality about women, and that’s what I’m attracted to.”
She says she hasn’t dated a man for two and a half years and is not attracted to men at all right now. She has seriously dated just three women, she writes, but “all of them have been important to me.” For one thing, she says, “they’ve made me realize that I can be strong enough to pursue what I want without worrying about what people will think.” She hopes to see women empowered to take charge of every aspect of their lives, including the romantic and sexual aspects.
“I've never really had any gay women icons — maybe I’ll be the next gay icon!” she adds. “What’s new for me is figuring out how beautiful and honest women can be with each other and how there’s a different closeness than you’ll have with any man. I hope I’ll inspire women to experiment more and try dating women if they want to. If I can help a little girl who feels trapped to come out — oh, my gosh, that would mean the world to me.”