Liam Neeson On Coping With His Wife's Death: "Her Death Was Never Real. It Still Kind Of Isn't"

Liam Neeson On Coping With His Wife's Death: "Her Death Was Never Real. It Still Kind Of Isn't"

Even a decade since the love of his life, Natasha Richardson, passed away in a tragic skiing accident, Liam Neeson is still coping with her absence.

Liam Neeson and his late wife Natasha Richardson had a love story worthy of becoming a Shakespearean classic. The talented duo was brought together by what they loved doing the most - acting - and the time they spent together on stage laid the foundation for what would become a marriage unlike any Hollywood has seen till date. While some would say their love story came to a tragic end in 2009 when Richardson passed away after a seemingly innocuous skiing accident, for Neeson, there is no one else who could take his late wife's place.



Speaking to Anderson Cooper in 2014, the Taken star opened up about the devastating death of his wife. Looking back at the time they'd worked together on Broadway in Eugene O’Neill’s classic play Anna Christie in 1993, Neeson couldn't help but gush about the electrifying chemistry the two actors shared on stage. "She was a radiant beauty. Yeah, cascading hair. I remember. There was-- that was very, very attractive. I'd never had that kind of an explosive chemistry situation with an actor, or actress. Yeah, she and I were like Astaire and Rogers. We had just this wonderful kind of dance, free dance on stage every night, you know?" he said.



Neeson and Richardson's chemistry did not go unnoticed in the industry. By the time the late actress, who was the daughter of British actress Vanessa Redgrave, ended her four-year marriage to ex-husband Robert Fox a month after Anna Christie's closing night, tabloids were filled with rumors about a potential romance between the two actors. Speaking to Daily News about the start of their relationship, Richardson previously said, "It was not an easy time when I met Liam. Working with him, what happened between us, and that becoming public knowledge in conjunction with my marriage falling apart, was kind of bad timing. So what can I say? Obviously, I fell very much in love with him."


Despite the tumultuous start of their relationship, the bond between Neeson and Richardson rode out the wave of rumors and tied the knot in July 1994. The couple went on to have two sons, Micheal and Daniel who were just 13 and 12, when tragedy struck. Richardson, who continued her acting career while raising their two boys, was on a ski vacation in Quebec, Canada, with her oldest son in March 2009 when she fell and hit her head. 45-years-old at the time, Richardson wasn’t wearing a helmet when she injured her head and unaware of the seriousness of her fall, she reportedly turned down medical attention.


Looking back at that fateful day, Neeson revealed, "I spoke to her and she said, 'Oh, darling. I've taken a tumble in the snow.' That's how she described it." What she didn't know at the time was that she was actually experiencing what doctors call the lucid interval, a period when someone with a fatal brain injury appears to be normal even as blood builds up in the brain. More than 3 hours after her fall, the star was rushed to a local hospital and Neeson, who was in Toronto filming a movie, flew in immediately. Midway his flight was diverted to Montreal as she was shifted to a bigger hospital there.


Neeson said, "I got a taxi to this hospital and uh-- this doctor, he looked all of 17, showed me her X-ray. And you didn't need to be a rocket scientist to see what was happening. You know? It's-- it was like a cartoon. You know, the brain's squashed up against the side of the skull. And it's-- as the blood tries to get a release. You know? I was told she was brain dead. And seeing this X-ray it was, like, 'Wow." You know. But obviously she was on life support and stuff. And I went in to her and told her I loved her. Said, 'Sweetie, you're not coming back from this. You've banged your head. It's-- I don't know if you can hear me, but that's-- this is what's gone down. And we're bringing ya back to New York. All your family and friends will come.' And that was more or less it. You know?"


The actor further revealed that the couple had previously spoken about what one should do if faced with such a situation. "She and I had made a pact. If any of us got into a vegetative state that we'd pull the plug. You know? So when I saw her and saw all these tubes and stuff, that was my immediate thought. Was, 'OK, these tubes have to go. She's gone.' But donated three of her organs, so she's keeping three people alive at the moment. Yeah. Her heart, her kidneys, and her liver," he said.


As for how he's coping with life without his beloved wife by his side, Neeson said, "It was never real. It still kind of isn't. There's-- there's periods now in our New York residence when I hear the door opening, especially the first coupla years, she would always drop the keys in the-- on the table. Say, 'Hello?' So anytime I hear that door opening I still think I'm gonna hear her, you know. And, then, it's-- grief's like-- it hits you. It's like a wave. You just get this profound feeling of instability. You feel like a three-legged table. Just suddenly you just-- the Earth isn't stable anymore. And then it passes and becomes more infrequent, but I still get it sometimes."


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