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June 27, 2020

Richard Hammond Couldn't Recognize His Wife after Car Crash — A Look Back His Long Recovery

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TV presenter Richard Hammond, best known as one of the hosts of "Top Gear," couldn't remember his wife, Amanda, after a near-fatal car crash.

On September 20, 2006, Richard was driving a jet-powered car named Vampire at an airbase near Yorkshire, England, for a segment of "Top Gear." Unfortunately, he lost control while driving at 288mph and crashed.

His mind was "like a foreign place."

Richard Hammond and Mindy Hammond on January 6, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California | Photo: Getty Images



Miraculously, he survived, but the death-defying accident took a toll on his body and brain. The TV host revealed that, after being in a coma for two weeks, he ended up with short-term memory loss.

The hit also made him behave like a child. Not only was he obsessed with card games and Lego, but he also would suffer mood swings and depression.


Shortly after the crash happened, his wife, Mindy Hammond, was not sure if Richard would be able to walk, talk, or take care of their two daughters like he used to. When she visited him at the hospital, she noticed how bad the situation was. Mindy explained:

"It was disconcerting when, early after the crash, Richard looked at me from his hospital bed and said, 'You're lovely, but you're not my wife.'"



Apart from that, the TV presenter kept saying that Mindy could not be his wife because his real wife was French. The recovery process was challenging for many reasons, including that Richard couldn't retain any information for longer than 10 seconds.

While reading the newspaper, for instance, he would read the same page several times. Talking to him was also hard because he would repeat the same sentences.


In December 2006, three months after the accident, Richard made his first appearance on television to talk about the ordeal. In it, he revealed that his mind was "like a foreign place" and that he was given morphine to ease his pain.

According to Richard Hammond's wife, one of the most difficult days during recovery was when he suddenly asked her to take their two daughters and leave the house.


Mindy pointed out that Richard was feeling the anger "welling up," which is why he was afraid he couldn't control himself. Mindy also said, to avoid putting more pressure on him, she didn't tell him he used to love her before the accident.

The crash deeply deteriorated their marriage, and although Mindy knew that his brain needed to "reset," she was open to the possibility of him not wanting to keep their relationship.



Fortunately, after a long process, he recovered. Nowadays, Mindy believes her husband is a better person, describing him as more patient and self-aware.

Richard Hammond's 2006 crash was not the only one in his long career, though. In 2017, he severely injured his left knee after crashing a $2million race car in Switzerland.


Before bursting into flames, the vehicle flipped off the road and crashed. As a result, he needed knee surgery.

Shortly after successfully going under the knife, Richard uploaded a photo of the X-rays showing his "Swiss Army Knee." He hilariously explained that the only problem would be at airport security.


In late 2019, the TV presenter admitted that his brain injury taught him how food and exercises could change his mood, adding that he had been working out regularly to make sure his body releases endorphins. He said:

"Just 20-30 minutes in the gym, or just picking up heavy things and putting them down, or doing basic exercises is enough to keep me ticking over."

Richard Hammond on January 15, 2019 in London, England | Photo: Getty Images

At the moment, Richard Hammond is still working in the entertainment industry. On his latest show, "Richard Hammond's Big!" he travels the world, visiting some of the most prominent structures and machines.