The PAPER MOON star was the second celebrity voted off the show last Friday (13JAN06) after receiving the lowest number of votes from fans of the TV contest.
But the actress admits she knew that her stint on the show was over even before the judging panel savaged her.
And she claims she didn't have enough time to learn the rumba before the show aired.
O'Neal says, "I had one week to learn the rumba. Perhaps the rumba (is) not my dance. I felt a little leggy... I felt a little uncomfortable... I felt a little scared.
"Then I saw myself on the (TV) monitor and I could just tell it was gonna be, 'Yeah, Tate, bye!'"
The actress knows a little bit about competition, being the ex-wife of former tennis champion John McEnroe, and says her former husband and their three children were supportive.
She says, "Knowing John (and) being John's ex-wife, having kids with the last name McEnroe... it was like four McEnroe's saying, 'Don't choke.' I sort of felt like I did (choke) during the second dance. It was a little bit of a choke situation."