Pierce Brosnan Raised 3 Kids Alone after Losing His Wife – Later He Became Dad to 2 More Children
Pierce Brosnan was left to raise three kids on his own after his wife, Cassandra Harris, sadly died of ovarian cancer. However, two years later, he found love again when he met Keely Shaye Smith.
Pierce Brosnan was born in 1953 in Drogheda, Co Louth, to May Smith, a nurse, and Thomas Brosnan, a carpenter.
Pierce was just a toddler when his father abandoned the family, and at just four years old, he was sent to live with his grandparents so that his mother could move to London to become a nurse.
[Left]A portrait of Pierce Brosnan; [Center]Pierce Brosnan with his sons at an event, [Right]Pierce Brosnan, wife Charlotte Harris, and children Charlotte Harris and Christopher Harris | Source: Getty Images
He was enrolled at a strict school run by Christian Brothers, who the youngster claimed were dreadful human beings and very cruel towards children.
The youngster grew up feeling very lonely because he was an only child, and at the age of 11, he joined his mother and her new husband in East Lothian before the family subsequently relocated to London.
While working as a graphic artist in London, he was told by a colleague in the photo department to attend acting workshops at the Oval House Theatre, and Pierce immediately fell in love. He enrolled at the Drama Centre London for three years before starting his acting career in London theaters.
Portrait of Irish actor Pierce Brosnan, London, United Kingdom, circa 1978. | Source: Getty Images
MEETING AND MARRYING CASSANDRA HARRIS
During the mid-70s, Pierce was appearing in the movie "Filumena" in London when he was introduced to Cassandra by a mutual friend.
The actor was not looking his best when he met the beautiful actress because he had ridden a bicycle to his friend's house, which made his pants fold at the ankles, and his hair slicked back due to the character he was portraying in "Filumena."
Pierce Brosnan and his wife Cassandra Harris | Source: Getty Images
Pierce instantly felt drawn to Cassandra because of how beautiful she looked, but the actress, who was married to British producer Dermot Harris, had no interest in him at all.
However, once the pair started talking, they realized they had a lot in common, including acting, music, and books. From that point, their relationship progressed, and Cassandra's opinion of the actor changed.
Pierce Brosnan, wife Charlotte Harris, and children Charlotte Harris and Christopher Harris | Source: Getty Images
After Cassandra left her marriage with Dermot, with whom she shared two kids, the actress exchanged marital vows with Pierce in 1977.
After tying the knot, the couple welcomed their son, Sean in 1983. In 1986, Pierce also adopted the actress's kids from her previous marriage Charlotte and Christopher, after Dermot, their biological father, died.
Actor Pierce Brosnan, son Christopher Brosnan, daughter Charlotte Brosnan and son Sean Brosnan attend "An Evening at the Net" Benefit for Revlon/UCLA Women's Cancer Research Program to Kick-Off the 67th Annual ATP Los Angeles Open on August 2, 1993 | Source: Getty Images
CASSANDRA'S OVARIAN CANCER AND DEATH
In 1987, Cassandra took the kids to India, where Pierce was starring in the movie "The Deceivers." While they were in India, the mother of three noticed her stomach was swollen, and she was also feeling weirdly tired.
Upon their return to London, she went to her doctor, who conducted an exploratory surgery where it was discovered the actress had an aggressive form of ovarian cancer.
Actor Pierce Brosnan, wife Cassandra Harris, daughter Charlotte Harris and Christopher Harris attend the "Cats" Opening Night Musical Performance on January 11, 1985 | Source: Getty Images
They discovered Cassandra's mother, who died when the actress was a teenager, had passed on genetic susceptibility to the disease. For the preceding four years, the mother of three went through a host of treatments, including eight operations and chemotherapy for a year and a half.
They also tried other forms of treatment like holistic medicine and macrobiotics, all to no avail. Two years into her battle with cancer, the family moved from London to America, where they bought a house in Malibu.
Cassandra spent her time between treatments organizing and caring for the children while planning her husband's career and redecorating their home.
Pierce Brosnan at home | Source: Getty Images
Sadly Cassandra died on Dec. 28, 1991, aged 43, in Pierce's arms and son Christopher by her side. Their daughter, Charlotte, was also on the phone when it happened. Pierce had to go home and tell their youngest child, Sean, that his mum had died.
It was a very tough moment for the actor because not only was he left alone to care for the three kids, he had also lost his beloved wife, who was the most supportive person in his life. He confessed:
"She has made me the man I am, the actor I am, the father I am. She's forever embedded in every fiber of my being. She was there with me every day. I was so blessed to have met someone like that."
Pierce Brosnan with his children Shaun, Charlotte and Chris attend the party for the premiere of the film "Evelyn" at Simpsons restaurant on March 17, 2003 | Source: Getty Images
RAISING THE KIDS
Cassandra's death and the days they spent mourning her brought the family deeply together, and afterward, Pierce and his sons would go to the beach together and sometimes invite their friends over for swimming parties.
He made it a routine to call Charlotte, who was studying acting in London every day and the actor kept a watchful eye on them because he knew they would not get over their grief that quickly.
Pierce noticed Christopher was in pain, and even though youngest child Sean declared he was happy talking only to his father, the actor brought in a counselor to speak to him and his sons.
Actor Pierce Brosnan and son Christopher Brosnan attend American Cinema Awards Foundation Hosts "Buddy Ebsen: An American Original, A Surprise 84th Birthday Celebration" on March 20, 1992 | Source: Getty Images
The actor also found a way to juggle his career and fatherhood by sometimes having his sons accompany him to the location of his films or only taking roles that would allow him to come back to them every day.
FINDING LOVE AGAIN
In 1994, two years after Cassandra passed away, Pierce met Keely Shaye Smith at a party in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where she was working as a TV correspondent. The pair instantly became attracted to one another, especially Keely, who said:
"He was captivating. Tall, dark, and handsome–everything that everybody would immediately be attracted to. He had this mischievous sparkle in his eyes. I thought, 'Wow! Wow!'"
A few days after they met, the couple went on their first date where they sat under the stars and talked till 3. a.m. the following day.
In 1997 they became parents to son Dylan, and four years later, they welcomed their second son, Paris. A few months later, they tied the knot in a splendid wedding ceremony held at 800-year-old Ballytubber Abbey in Ireland.
Avery Wheless, Dylan Brosnan, Keely Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan, Paris Brosnan and Alex Lee Aillón attends the 21st Annual Warner Bros. And InStyle Golden Globe After Party at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 05, 2020 | Source: Getty Images
The couple made provisions for about 100 guests expected at the party, including making the venue soundproofed to keep the ceremony private.
Pierce's daughter, Charlotte, served as a bridesmaid at the ceremony, conducted by Limerick priest, Monsignor John Fleming, the rector of the Pontifical Irish College in Rome.
HAVING ISSUES WITH HIS KIDS
Despite his hands-on approach to raising his kids, Pierce still had a lot of baggage to deal with as his kids became adults.
His eldest son Christopher started his life on the right path working as assistant director in his father's top movies like "Tomorrow Never Dies," 'The World Is Not Enough," and "The Thomas Crown Affair."
But after a while, Christopher got hooked on cocaine and heroin, and his once-promising future spiraled out of control. In 1997 he was given a three-month prison sentence for drunk driving, and afterward, Pierce cut him off entirely.
Pierce Brosnan and Daughter Charlotte Harris during Sting's After Concert Party at Spago's on May 8, 1993 | Source: Getty Images
The actor explained that his son was very lost, and his addiction had been a testing period for everyone in the family. Pierce, however, believed that Christopher was strong enough to get over it.
The family also suffered a tragic loss when the only female child Charlotte aged 41, died in 2013 due to ovarian cancer, the same disease that killed her mother.
Sean, Pierce's biological kid with Cassandra, was only 16 when he was involved in a ghastly car accident that left him with a broken and shattered tailbone, pelvis and left femur.
Sean Brosnan and Pierce Brosnan attend THE CINEMA SOCIETY After-Party for SERAPHIM FALLS at Soho Grand Penthouse on January 23, 2007 | Source: Getty Images
After the accident, the youngster got addicted to painkillers before gravitating towards cocaine and alcohol when he enrolled in drama school.
When Sean graduated from the Central School of Speech and Drama, he tried getting sober to follow in his father's footsteps of being an actor.
After a year and half of sobriety, he started drinking again when his sister Charlotte died of ovarian cancer. However, Sean was finally able to turn his life around when he met and married actress and producer Sanja Banic in 2014.
Sean Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan, Dylan Brosnan and Paris Brosnan arrive at the premiere of The Weinstein Company's "No Escape" at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on August 17, 2015 | Source: Getty Images
DEFENDING HIS WIFE KEELY
In 2008 Pierce's wife Keely, a plus-sized woman, was on an outing with her family when paparazzi took pictures of her in a bikini.
Online blogs posted the picture, and it generated a lot of reactions from fans. While some praised her for daring to show her bikini-clad body, others shamed the TV personality.
In defense of his wife, Pierce revealed that he does not care what people say about Keely because he loves every curve on her body.
The actor also revealed that a couple of family and friends advised his wife to undergo weight loss surgery, but Pierce loves Keely's shapes and imperfections and does not care about what people say.
During her 58th birthday in 2021, the actor posted Keely's picture on his Instagram page and referred to her as his luscious love.
After more than two decades of marriage, Pierce and Keely remain devoted to one another, and the couple do not mind what others have to say about them.