Natasha Gregson Wagner lost her mom when she was 11 years old. Many years after, she interviewed her stepfather and questioned him about the tragic loss of her mother.
Natasha Gregson Wagner was born on September 29, 1970. She was surrounded by the Hollywood glitz and glam from her childhood as her mom was the film star Natalie Wood.
Her father, Richard Gregson, a British producer and writer, married her mom in 1969. He was Natalie's second husband, as she was previously married to Robert Wagner from 1957 to 1962. When Natalie and Richard divorced in 1972, she married Robert for the second time.
Natalie Wood with Robert Wagner and little Natasha Gregson Wagner | Photo: Getty Images
In 1981, Natalie, a three-time Oscar nominee, drowned off Catalina Island. Natasha was 11 when the incident happened and learned about her mom's death from a news report on a clock radio while sleeping at a friend's house.
Losing her mom at a young age was a defining moment for Natasha and spurred her to seek a maternal connection with many people in her life. She also sought comfort and feeling.
Natasha Gregson Wagner attends the 73rd annual Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 9, 2019 in New York | Photo: Shutterstock
After her mom's death, life seemed like she was moving through the world without any skin with her flesh exposed. She had a very intense and palpable bond with her mom and saw her as her rock and dearest love.
Like her mom, Natasha became a Hollywood actress and starred in multiple hit movies, playing diverse characters and winning plaudits for her acting talent.
Dennis Davern, Splendour's captain, claimed he overheard Robert and Natalie arguing on the night of her death.
Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood at Heathrow Airport on May 28, 1976 | Photo: Getty Images
However, despite her impressive achievements, she never truly overcame the pain of losing her mother at such a young age. Even if she wanted to, the suspicion surrounding Natalie's death made it impossible.
On a weekend boat trip to Santa Catalina Island, Natalie was on board Robert's 55-foot Motoryacht named Splendour. She was with Robert when she drowned, but the circumstances surrounding her drowning remained unknown.
On November 29, 1981, her body was found a day after she drowned and about 1.6 km from the boat. Her autopsy revealed she had bruises on her body and arms and an abrasion on her left cheek. However, there was no indication as to how or when she had the injuries.
Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner on January 01, 1960 | Photo: Getty Images
In 2011, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department revisited the case surrounding Natalie's death after Dennis Davern, Splendour's captain, claimed he overheard Robert and Natalie arguing on the night of her death.
Afterward, the coroner changed the cause of her death to drowning and other undetermined factors. Then, following Davern's revelation, new witnesses led the police to reclassify Natalie's death as suspicious.
Robert Wagner at Hallmark's "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood on May 16, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images
Robert was named a person of interest by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department in 2018. Natalie's sister, Lana Wood, who detectives deemed a credible source, also doubted her death was accidental and demanded that Robert tell the truth once and for all.
He and Walken had an argument they quickly resolved before the latter retired to bed.
However, despite the suspicions around her stepfather, Natasha never for once believed he had any hand in her mom's death.
In her documentary "Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind," which premiered on HBO on May 5, 2020, she interviewed Robert, who essentially raised her.
During the interview, she asked him questions about the tragic night of her mom's passing and asked him what happened that evening. Robert recounted his final voyage with Natalie, Davern, and Christopher Walken.
He recalled his final dinner with Natalie and Walken, her co-star in the sci-fi movie "Brainstorm." He and Walken had an argument they quickly resolved before the latter retired to bed.
Natalie Wood poses for a portrait session in 1952 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images
Robert went downstairs and discovered Wood was missing. He quickly notified the Coast Guard. Later, authorities notified him they had found her body. He said everything went from under him and that everyone was stunned.
Robert and Natasha discussed their heartbreak after losing Natalie, her devastating funeral, and the surreal months and years that followed as they struggled to move on.
Natasha also said she was not concerned with disproving theories connecting Robert with Natalie's death.
Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood circa1972 | Source: Getty Images
Speaking after interviewing her stepdad, Natasha said she is very protective of him and adores him. Hence, she did not want him to feel unsafe or uncomfortable. However, she asked him to come out of his comfort zone to talk about the night her mom died.
Natasha also told USA Today she was reluctant to talk to Robert about her mom's death because she did not want him to feel that she questioned him. She added that she did not want him ever to feel unsafe with her.
Natasha also said she was not concerned with disproving theories connecting Robert with Natalie's death but was more about having a conversation with him. She also wanted him to feel safe enough to discuss what they talked about and be honest and show his humanity.
Natasha and her stepdad have a strong bond, which he has previously opened up about. He described his bond with her as very intense and said they have hung on to each other through the years and that she means the world to him.
It has now been almost 40 years since Natalie's death. Yet her memory remains evergreen in Natashia's mind. In a chat with People, she said:
"I was eleven when my mother died and this year I'll be 51. You can be fifty and still miss your mom."
Robert Wagner, Natalie Wood, and daughters Katie Wagner, Natasha Gregson Wagner, and Courtney Wagner in 1980 | Source: Getty Images
Besides her "What Remains Behind" documentary, she also wrote a memoir, "More Than Love," where she examined the events leading to Natalie's death.
Besides her successful career, Natasha has been married twice. Her first marriage was to screenwriter D. V. DeVincentis and lasted from 2003 to 2008.
In December 2014, she married Barry Watson, over two years after they welcomed their daughter, Clover Clementyne Watson, on May 30, 2012.
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