John McEnroe’s Family Life: A Court Full of Love


John McEnroe, the fiery tennis legend known for his aggressive playing style and iconic outbursts, is also a father of six. His personal life has been as interesting as his on-court career, with two marriages and a blended family. Let’s delve into the world of McEnroe’s children and explore the dynamics of this tennis family.

John McEnroe

From Bachelor to Father of Three: McEnroe’s Life with Tatum O’Neal

In 1984, John McEnroe, a rising tennis star with a reputation for being a bachelor, met actress Tatum O’Neal. Their whirlwind romance quickly blossomed, and in 1986, their son Kevin was born. The couple married that same year, and their family grew with the arrival of son Sean in 1987 and daughter Emily in 1991.

Despite their initial joy, McEnroe and O’Neal’s relationship faced challenges. McEnroe’s intense tennis career often took him away from home, while O’Neal struggled with substance abuse issues. These factors, coupled with their contrasting personalities, eventually led to their separation in 1992 and subsequent divorce in 1994.

Initially, the couple shared joint custody of their children. However, in 1998, McEnroe was awarded sole custody due to O’Neal’s ongoing struggles with addiction. This difficult decision allowed McEnroe to provide a more stable environment for Kevin, Sean, and Emily during their formative years.

Finding Love Again: McEnroe’s Marriage to Patty Smyth and Expanding Family

In 1997, John McEnroe found love again with rock singer Patty Smyth. They married that same year, and their family continued to grow with the birth of daughters Ava (1995) and Anna (1999). Although Ava was born before McEnroe and Smyth’s marriage, she was fully integrated into the family.

McEnroe has often spoken about the challenges of raising six children, particularly during his playing days. Balancing his demanding tennis career with fatherhood required a great deal of effort. In a 2018 interview, he confessed, “The toughest thing I ever had to do was try to figure out how to be a good father and a good parent. There’s nothing more satisfying, but more difficult.”

Despite the complexities, McEnroe seems to have fostered a close-knit family. He is often seen courtside at his children’s sporting events, and they have all developed strong bonds with each other.

Following in Dad’s Footsteps? The McEnroe Children’s Pursuits

While none of McEnroe’s children have pursued professional tennis careers, some have dabbled in the sport. Kevin McEnroe, the eldest son, played collegiate tennis at Duke University. Sean McEnroe also played tennis competitively but has chosen a different path.

John McEnroe’s daughters have taken their own unique routes. Emily McEnroe is a musician and artist, while Ava McEnroe works in the fashion industry. Anna McEnroe, the youngest, is still charting her course but is known for her involvement in social justice causes.

Beyond Tennis: McEnroe’s Legacy as a Father

John McEnroe’s legacy extends beyond his Grand Slam titles and fiery on-court persona. He is a father who has navigated the complexities of blended families, addiction, and busy careers. While his parenting journey hasn’t always been smooth, McEnroe has strived to provide a stable and loving environment for his children.

In a 2012 interview, McEnroe reflected on fatherhood, stating, “There have been a lot of challenges, but being a father is the most important thing in my life. It’s been a great ride, and I’m incredibly proud of all my kids.”

John McEnroe’s story is a reminder that even the most competitive athletes have a softer side. His dedication to his family serves as an inspiration, showcasing the importance of balance and resilience in the face of life’s challenges.


How many children does John McEnroe have?

John McEnroe has a total of six children from two marriages.

Three children with his first wife, actress Tatum O’Neal: Kevin (born 1986), Sean (born 1987), and Emily (born 1991).

Two daughters with his current wife, singer Patty Smyth: Ava (born 1995) and Anna (born 1999).

John is also stepfather to Patty’s daughter from a previous relationship.

Did John McEnroe have children with Tatum O’Neal?

Yes, John McEnroe and Tatum O’Neal share three children together. Their eldest son, Kevin, was born in 1986, the same year they got married. They then welcomed Sean in 1987 and Emily in 1991. Unfortunately, their relationship went through a rough patch, and they divorced in 1994.

How many children does John McEnroe have with Patty Smyth?

John McEnroe and his current wife, Patty Smyth, have two daughters together. Ava was born in 1995, and Anna arrived four years later in 1999. John and Patty married in 1997 and have been together ever since.

Does John McEnroe have a good relationship with his kids?

John McEnroe has spoken openly about the challenges of fatherhood. He and Tatum O’Neal initially shared custody of their children after their divorce. However, due to O’Neal’s struggles with substance abuse, McEnroe was awarded sole custody in 1998. Despite the difficulties, John seems to have a strong bond with all his children.

There have been glimpses of this in interviews, where he’s talked about attending his daughters’ music performances and supporting his sons’ endeavors. In a 2018 interview, McEnroe even called being a father “the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do,” but also the most rewarding.

Are any of John McEnroe’s children following in his footsteps?

While none of John McEnroe’s children have pursued professional tennis careers, a couple have shown interest in the sport. His son Sean has played competitively and even received a scholarship to play college tennis.

John’s daughters with Patty Smyth, Ava and Anna, have leaned more towards their mother’s musical side. Ava is a singer and songwriter, and Anna has performed alongside her parents at charity events.

Who is John McEnroe’s stepchild?

John McEnroe is also a stepfather to Patty Smyth’s daughter from a previous relationship. However, details about this child are kept private to protect their privacy.

What is John McEnroe’s relationship with his ex-wife Tatum O’Neal like?

The relationship between John McEnroe and Tatum O’Neal has been strained at times due to the circumstances surrounding their divorce. However, there have been reports of a more amicable relationship in recent years.

Are John McEnroe and Patty Smyth still together?

Yes, John McEnroe and Patty Smyth are still happily married. They tied the knot in 1997 and have been a strong couple ever since. They credit their successful relationship to open communication, mutual respect, and a shared love for music.

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