Liam Neeson's Grown-Up Sons – One Changed His Name to Honor Their Late Mom Whom He Thinks of Every Day
- When Liam Neeson fell in love with Natasha Richardson, the timing wasn't right, as the latter was still married.
- The two became a pair after Natasha's marriage ended, and they entered a union lasting for 15 years until her death.
- Their marriage resulted in the birth of two sons, one of whom changed his name to honor his late mom.
When Liam Neeson's wife, Natasha Richardson, passed away, he had to raise his two children. Despite his initial apprehension about being a single father, Liam did an excellent job.
The children had to mature quickly, and despite Liam's initial doubts, fears, and concerns, they grew into adults their parents would be proud of. Following in their parents' footsteps, Liam and Natasha's children pursued careers in acting.
Liam and Natasha's love story began in 1993 when they performed opposite each other in "Anna Christie" on Broadway. At the time, she was married, but that did not stop her and Liam from falling for each other.
The "Taken" actor said he felt explosive chemistry between them that he had never experienced before. Their chemistry made people love their show so much that they earned a Tony nomination.
Natasha's marriage ended during that period, and even though falling in love with Liam happened at the wrong time, she could not help herself. The actress was not fazed despite his reputation for being a ladies' man. She said:
"I'm pleased that women fall in love with him, because I know why."
On her 30th birthday, Liam sent her a card while he was on the set of "Schindler's List." Natasha felt the card was not romantic and responded to him by asking him about their relationship. Her response made him realize that he had fallen in love with her.
Shortly after, the couple married on a farm in upstate New York in the summer of 1994. Life moved fast for the pair as they became parents to Micheál, their first son, in 1995 and welcomed Daniel, their second son, 18 months later.
The Death of Natasha Richardson
On March 16, 2009, Natasha decided to take ski lessons at a ski resort in Québec, Canada. Around noon, as she was on the hill with an instructor, she toppled over on nearing the bottom of a beginners' trail.
The fall caused her to bang her head against the still hard-packed snow. "The Parent Trap" actress shrugged it off, but her instructor was wary and sought a second opinion from the ski patrol.
The ski patrol called for an ambulance, but Natasha insisted she was fine and signed a waiver declining medical assistance. She made light of the situation when she called Liam to inform him of the accident.
Natasha's anxiety levels increased in no time. She had a headache and showed signs of confusion. The resort called for an ambulance again, and they took her to a nearby hospital.
Her vital signs improved, and with the help of oxygen, she breathed better. However, she was still confused, and the hospital, realizing things could be worse, put her into another ambulance bound for a Montréal trauma center.
On receiving word that his wife was in serious trouble, Liam quickly left the production. They did not recognize him when he arrived at the hospital and refused to let him past the emergency room.
A nurse sympathized with him and let him go through a back door. The actor found his wife hooked up to life support, and the doctors informed him that she was brain dead. Liam recalled how they had made a pact to "pull the plug" if the other wound up in a vegetative state.
Knowing this, Liam spoke to his wife for the last time. He professed his love for her and told her she would not return from the injury. He also informed her that he would take her back to New York for family and friends to pay their last respects before pulling the plug. The late actress left behind two young sons.
Liam approved of his son's decision and was proud of it.
Liam Neeson & Natasha Richardson's Eldest Son
More than a decade after Natasha's death, her children have grown into fine adults. Their eldest son, Micheál, was born on June 22, 1995. Following his parents' lead, he made his film debut in 2013 when he starred in "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues."
He has also starred in "Vox Lux," "Big Dogs," "Broken Symphony," and "Paradise." In 2019, Micheál starred alongside his father in "Cold Pursuit," and in 2020, they acted together in "Made in Italy."
Micheál was named partially in tribute to Natasha's grandfather, Michael Redgrave, an Oscar winner for "Mourning Becomes Electra" in 1947, based on an O'Neill play. The movie also featured Kirk Douglas, Rosalind Russell, Raymond Massey, and Leo Genn, among other stars.
To honor Liam's Irish-Catholic heritage and his portrayal of Irish revolutionary leader Michael Collins in a 1996 biopic, they chose the Irish variant, pronounced "Meehall." Liam and Natasha raised their sons in New York, where Micheál had to adopt an English accent for a film.
Immersed in the world of entertainment, Micheál and his younger brother, Daniel, witnessed their mom performing as Sally Bowles in Cabaret and their father in "The Crucible." Micheál changed his last name in 2018 from Neeson to Richardson to honor his late mother. He said:
"It was mainly like a homage to my mother, a way to carry her with me. Going into this industry, carrying her last name, it definitely inspires me, and it is also comforting."
Liam approved of his son's decision and was proud of it. Also, he did not want a situation where people would always ask his son about their relationship. The "Memory" actor, who believed his son did the right thing, said:
"It was a lovely gesture. Natasha's family, mother, and sisters were very touched by it. I'm proud of it."
Micheál's maternal grandmother, the esteemed actress Vanessa Redgraves, also supported his decision. She said that even though customs dictated that people bear the man's name, she didn't object to her grandson's decision because the name was as good as any.
In 2015, Micheál reflected on the comforting presence of family and friends after his mother's passing. He admitted he went off the rails while living in New York and filled the void left by his mom's tragic death with partying. U2 frontman Bono, who had gone through a similar loss, shared his experience with Micheál, offering valuable insight and understanding.
Despite the pain of losing his mother at 13, Micheál found strength in his grandma, Vanessa. She became a motherly figure and a supportive confidante, guiding him through the difficult period and providing a listening ear for his concerns.
Micheál described how unexpected and accidental it was to lose his mother, causing a whirlwind of emotions. He emphasized holding on to cherished memories, like her laughter and the times spent with her, to cope with the loss. He and his younger brother learned to remember their mother in the little things over time.
Micheál recalled that his mother was terrific and wished he could converse with her as an adult. He said: "I was a mama's boy growing up and she was really my best friend. I mean we were all a close family, but Danny was my dad's boy and I was my mom's boy, for sure."
In an interview in June 2020, Micheál admitted how he still struggled to come to terms with his mom's death despite being a grown-up. "I think of her every day...It's heartbreaking to me still...I don't, even still, think that I've fully comprehended it," he expressed.
Liam Neeson & Natasha Richardson's Second Son
The couple's second son, Daniel, was born on August 27, 1996. Unlike his father and brother, he studied acting and digital media but primarily worked behind the cameras on the production side of filmmaking.
In 2016, Daniel, who never thought he would get into fashion designing, launched his eco-friendly clothing line called "Pine Outfitters." Being a massive athlete who loved to play sports, he always wanted to be a hockey player or a producer in the entertainment industry. However, his clothing line promised to deliver classy clothing.
Daniel is also glad he can do something different from his family. Also, in 2016, he started his second company, "Willowglen Landscaping." Since 2018, he has been the co-founder and president of "De-Nada Tequila."
Daniel opted to retain his father's name, Neeson. He recalled that his mother, one of his biggest role models, always encouraged him to follow his passions. He said:
"She was always about 'don't ever feel like you have to be forced down a tunnel to fit in. Do what you want to do, but do it to your best and be generous with it.'"
Liam Neeson on Becoming a Single Father
As a single father, Liam had fears for his sons when they were teenagers, and one of those was the possibility of them getting hooked on drugs. He recalled that as they experimented and flexed their muscles, he was worried despite bringing them up with the correct values.
He wished his wife was around to share such worries with him. Liam was also thankful that his sons were used to him being away for long periods, as one of them was even born on location.
"They really do help, in all sorts of quiet, subtle ways."
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