Tatum explained in a interview that she was never engaged or in a relationship with Michael Jackson. She told that they just flirted once and they met several times, but this obviously doesn't mean being in a relationship. Meeting someone occasionally and kiss him twice, it's something really different from being engaged or in being in a real relationship, but it was him who used to say that they dated – the engagement was just in his head. She denied it some years ago in a interview.
They struck up a friendship when they were very young, though whether they were truly "dating" was debatable. According to O'Neal, they hung out frequently and kissed a couple of times, but nothing more.
Michael was 17 years old and Tatum was 12 years old when they first met. But this was not the beginning of their friendship nor relationship. Tatum recollection of their friendship and relationship made it seem like Michael was trying to date her at age 12! which was not true. Michael and Tatum didn't meet again until 1979. He was 21 and she was 16. She also disputed the story in which Michael admitted that she tried to seduce him, and that he refused her advances because he wasn't ready for a sexual relationship with her. She claims Michael tried to seduce her. Although Michael was tempted, the truth is she tried to seduce him, but Michael was too afraid and shy to go through with it. Eventually, they just grew apart.
Tatum O’Neal, who he accused of trying to steal his virginity when she was 12... and he was 17. As Jackson put it to documentary filmmaker Martin Bashir in 2003, “I lay on the bed and she slowly walked over and she touched the button on my shirt to open it,” but he covered his face and she left. “She knew I was too shy for it. I was frightened. I was afraid,” continued Jackson. Tatum remembered things a little differently saying “He has a very vivid imagination.” “Michael did come over to my house when my father (Ryan O’Neal) was home, but at 12 years old, there was no way I was capable of being as mature or as sophisticated as he claimed I was.” Then again, this is Tatum O’Neal we’re talking about. Four years later they went on what Jackson described as his “first date.”