If you’re going through a tough divorce and need a shoulder to cry on, try Eddie Vedder.
It worked for John McEnroe (photo), in 1992, when he was newly separated from Tatum O’Neal and in rough shape went to see a New Year’s Eve Keith Richards concert, with Pearl Jam as the opener.
He ended up spending the night talking to Vedder, who talked the distraught dad of three down and told him he was going to be OK. Whatever he said worked: it was a turning point, says McEnroe, and he’s never forgotten it.
That’s one of the things we learned from reading “But Seriously,” the temperamental tennis great’s new memoir, and a followup to his 2002 memoir “You Cannot Be Serious.”
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In the family division, McEnroe — whose split and custody battle with the drug-addicted O’Neal made for much tabloid fodder — reveals that he’s estranged from his younger son Sean, whose relationships with family members have been “quite turbulent.”
He speaks briefly about the headline-grabbing cocaine arrest of older son Kevin, who was busted in the East Village in 2014, saying it made him question what he’d done wrong. It’s been painful to watch Kevin struggle, McEnroe writes, but he’s proud of “how hard he’s worked to get his life back on track.”
He also reveals that his sons’ early exposure to drugs came via dad’s weed stash. McEnroe admits to becoming a heavy pot smoker after quitting the tennis circuit in the mid-’90s, ignoring second wife Patty Smyth’s requests that he cut down. And at one point, he discovered that the boys — then young teens — were dipping into his supplies. He flipped — which he now acknowledges was probably not the best way to handle it.
Speaking of outbursts, McEnroe says that while he wouldn’t exactly call himself a Zen master he’s calmed down considerably — though he’s come to accept that his powder-keg image is something he’ll never shake.
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One way to get a rise out of him: request a selfie. He hates them – and hates when fans stop him in general. Going the polite route with “I hate to bother you” won’t help – he hates that too. (So why are you bothering me, he asks.) Oh, and don’t hit him with his trademark line “You cannot be serious” – if he could only get through a day without hearing it, he writes, it would be nirvana.
The book is out June 27.
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