"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": Liam Neeson On Coping With His Wife's Death

Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson enjoyed 15 years of togetherness till tragedy struck. Richardson died in a freak skiing accident in Québec, Canada.

Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson's love story is nothing short of a Shakespearean tragedy. The two talented actors ended up together against all odds, after falling in love when they were cast opposite each other in a Broadway rendition of Anna Christie in 1993. Even though Richardson was married to producer Robert Fox at the time, the chemistry between her and Neeson was undeniable. “Obviously I fell very much in love with him,” The Parent Trap actor, admitted in an interview with the Daily News. In 1994 they tied the knot and enjoyed 15 years of togetherness till tragedy struck.



In the 2003 film Love, Actually, Neeson plays a widower who has to cope with the loss of his wife while raising their young son. Life has a cruel way of imitating art because a few years later, Richardson died in a freak skiing accident in Québec, Canada. She was coming down a beginner's slope on Mont Tremblant when she fell and hit her head. She wasn’t wearing a helmet. Even though an ambulance was called, she turned down medical attention and was escorted to her hotel room. Speaking to Anderson Cooper for 60 Minutes Neeson recalled his conversation with his wife. "She said, 'Oh, darling. I've taken a tumble in the snow.' That's how she described it," he said.



But what Richardson was experiencing is what doctors call the lucid interval. It is a period when someone with a traumatic brain injury appears normal but blood is building in the brain causing pressure which can be fatal. A second ambulance was called and she was finally taken to the local hospital, more than three hours after the fall. Neeson who was in Toronto at the time received a call from his assistant. He rushed to be by his wife's side. "I was told she was brain dead," he recalled. "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."



The couple had already made a pact that if either of them was in a vegetative state, they would pull the plug. "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." The suddenness of her death left Neeson unable to process her death. "It was never real. It still kind of isn't," he stated. "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."



Neeson and Richardson had two children together, Micheál and Daniel, who were both in their early teens when they lost their mum. Micheál is now an actor himself and has taken his mother's second name professional to honor her. He was with his mom on the fateful skiing trip. "It was so sudden. When it's unexpected and it's just a complete freak accident, it really sort of messes with your mind, whether you believe in fate or not," he told US Magazine, opening up about his mother's death nearly a decade after her passing. 



He went on to say, "It can send you for a bit of a head spin, and so you just latch on to the tiny little memories, whether it's her laugh or her energy in the room or her cooking. I do have her films to go back and watch her in, which I'm incredibly grateful for," and added, "She was a terrific, terrific mother. What I wish is I could have just these adult conversations with her, these random questions about the industry or music."




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