NEW YORK – Actress Tatum O'Neal says ex-hubby John McEnroe used steroids to power his tennis playing, but she made him stop because he was "becoming violent."
The tempestuous tennis ace would also "take out all his rage" on her when he was losing, O'Neal says in an interview with ABC's 20/20 that airs Friday.
And she says the claims Big Mac makes about their tumultuous marriage in his new autobiography, You Cannot Be Serious, are lies that make her "want to throw up."
In a 1992 interview, McEnroe, now a tennis commentator and art-gallery owner, said pro tennis needed a major overhaul, including comprehensive drug testing.
"If people think the use of steroids isn't happening in tennis, they're kidding themselves," he said.
O'Neal, who split from the tennis brat that year, says he should know.
She says he used steroids to bulk up his game after their son, Sean, was born in 1987.
When interviewer Barbara Walters asks if tennis officials ever knew about it, she replies, "I never read about it. I made him stop because he was becoming violent."
O'Neal, who has battled heroin addiction for years, says McEnroe also used cocaine and marijuana.
She also confirms one anecdote in the autobiography — that they had bad sex the first time they made love because they were on drugs.
O'Neal, the daughter of Love Story star Ryan O'Neal, says when she talked to McEnroe about his tennis tantrums, "that got me in a lot of trouble."
She says McEnroe "would take out all his rage onto me" when his playing wasn't going well.
McEnroe did not return a telephone call to his gallery, and his agent, Gary Swain, did not respond to an e-mail request for comment.