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Liam Neeson Raised 'Not Damaged' Kids with Help of Mother Figure after His Wife Natasha's Early Death

Gaone Pule
Jun 02, 2022
09:40 P.M.
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When Liam Neeson's beloved wife, Natasha Richardson, died, he became a single father. However, the veteran star was not entirely all alone, having had some help along the way.

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Actors Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson's long-lasting marriage blossomed for sixteen years. The pair met when they performed opposite each other in "Anna Christie" on Broadway in 1993.

At the time, Richardson was married to film producer Robert Fox, but that did not stop her from pursuing a romantic relationship with Neeson.

Actor Liam Neeson and actress Natasha Richardson seen on March 6, 2001 in New York. / Source: Getty Images

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The "Memory" star later admitted to Anderson Cooper on "60 Minutes" that he had never experienced that kind of connection with any other fellow actor before:

"I'd never had that kind of an explosive chemistry situation with an actor or actress. We had just this wonderful kind of dance – free dance on stage every night. She and I were like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers."

At that moment, Neeson realized that he had fallen in love with the English native, saying, "That was when I knew I really loved this person."

Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson during the American Ireland Fund's 33rd Annual New York Gala Fundraiser at The Tent at Lincoln Center on May 8, 2008 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

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The Irish native believed that what he and Richardson had was honest and genuine and should be protected. Soon after, the duo tied the knot in 1994 on a farm in upstate New York.

Sadly, Richardson tragically passed away in 2009 at age 45 following a skiing accident in Quebec. After a bad fall, she sustained a head injury, and she took it lightly, not knowing it was a fatal brain injury.

Her husband was busy filming "Chloe" in Toronto then, and upon learning about the incident, he hurried to the hospital, where doctors informed him that she was brain dead. Neeson knew that he had lost the love of his life and later revealed that they had made a pact.

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Liam Neeson and his wife Natasha Richardson arriving at the UK premiere of "The Chronicles Of Narnia, Prince Caspian," at Vue Cinema, The O2, in London. / Source: Getty Images

The couple decided to pull the plug if either of them ended up in a vegetative state. When Neeson saw Richardson in that condition, he remembered the pact they made and did what they both would have wanted.

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He later revealed that the mother of his kids donated three of her organs, meaning three people are alive today because of her. Neeson added that he knew that was what his adoring wife would have wanted.

The Hollywood couple was robbed of the love of a lifetime following the "The Parent Trap" star's death. Richardson's passing left a hole in her beloved husband's heart but also the responsibility of having to raise their children alone.

NEESON SAYS FATHERHOOD IS AN 'ONGOING JOY'

Liam Neeson and his sons, Daniel Neeson and Micheal Neeson, attending New York Rangers Vs. Boston Bruins game at Madison Square Garden on March 23, 2016 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

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During their marriage, Richardson and Neeson welcomed two sons, Michael and Daniel. Their firstborn arrived in June 1995, and their youngest child was born in August 1996.

The "The Ice Road" star revealed to GQ in March 2014 that from time to time, he thought "if Tisha were here, then they could share" the worries of their sons, but now he is alone.

Natasha Richardson and her sons, Micheal Neeson and Daniel Neeson, attending the "Billy Elliot The Musical" opening night on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre on November 13, 2008 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

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Neeson further shared that his biggest worry as a parent of his then-teenage kids was them using substances because they could wound up addicted, and their lives could change forever. However, he divulged that he trusted his children:

"I trust them, and they're sensible boys, but it can be just that chemistry that doesn't work."

Liam Neeson, Michael Neeson, Aidan Quinn and Daniel Neeson attending New Jersey Nets vs New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on April 15, 2009 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

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Neeson once told the Daily Mail in October 2012 that being a father to his then-sixteen and seventeen-year-old sons was a joyous experience:

"It's an ongoing joy being a dad. It's always a joy, but it's a joyful worry. No matter what age they are, they're still going to be your little boy or your little girl. And you are a hostage to love."

When Richardson was still alive, all they both wanted in raising their brood was to instill manners in them, something Michael and Daniel ended up possessing growing up.

Michael Neeson and Daniel Neeson during the Toronto Maple Leafs vs New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden on October 15, 2010 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

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Neeson shared that people have complimented his sons for making eye contact when communicating, saying they are polite and well-mannered, which makes him proud. In a way, Michael and Daniel have also helped their father grow as a man.

"They really do help, in all sorts of quiet, subtle ways," said the "Taken" star, while joking that at times they seldom come home when they are supposed to, something he has had to get used to.

Part of the reason why Neeson and Richardson's children grew up to be responsible adults was that their dad had a good support system. He had a mother figure who stepped in to help raise them.

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RICHARDSON'S MOTHER, VANESSA REDGRAVE - HELPED RAISE THE KIDS

Actress Vanessa Redgrave, Micheal Neeson (3rd-L), Joely Richardson (6th-L), Daisy Bevan (7th-L), Daniel Neeson (2nd-L) and Liam Neeson (L) pictured together before the funeral of Natasha Richardson at St. Peter's Episcopal Church on March 22, 2009 in Lithgow, New York. / Source: Getty Images

As a film star, Neeson remained a busy man over the years but managed to balance his career and family life. With the assistance of his mother-in-law, Vanessa Redgrave, who stepped in whenever he was away for work.

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The "Non-Stop" star shared in an interview with People in August 2014 that raising his sons is always about balance and gave credit to their Oscar-winning grandmother, saying:

"I have a great support system team, and if I'm away on a project, my mother-in-law moves in."

Actress Vanessa Redgrave and her grandsons. Micheal Neeson and Daniel Neeson, pictured leaving the Almay Concert to celebrate the Rainforest Fund's 21st birthday at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan on May 13, 2010 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

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Redgrave has been happily involved in raising her grandchildren, especially after her daughter passed away. Growing up, Michael and Daniel regularly spent time in London with their mother's side of the family and their father's side in Ballymena.

But all their lives, they have adjusted to their dad's working schedule. The proud dad revealed that one of his sons was born on location, so they are used to him being away often for an extended period. Neeson stated that so far, it has worked out for the family:

"So far, it's worked out okay. They're not damaged."

Liam Neeson with sons, Michael Neeson and Daniel Neeson, during the San Jose Sharks vs the New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden on October 31, 2011 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

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When the kids were teenagers, their father confessed that he desperately did not want them to follow in his and their mother's footsteps. Neeson explained that he feared the constant rejection they would come across and did not wish it on them.

The "Schindler's List" star shared that it was a relief for him that they were not showing any signs of pursuing acting careers then, adding children of successful actors and actresses experience double pressure to surpass their parents.

Neeson emphasized that he did not want his sons to be constantly criticized when auditioning for roles and then be told how they were not good enough for the part. "I don't want my kids to have to go through that and to feel rejected," said the father of two.

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NEESON'S ADULT SONS & WHAT THEY ARE UP TO

Liam Neeson and son, Micheal Neeson, during the Maison Mais Non launch party as Micheal Neeson launches fashion gallery in Soho on June 2, 2015 in London, England. / Source: Getty Images

To his dismay, Neeson's eldest son Michael did end up opting for a career in acting after being encouraged by his grandmother Redgrave. Neeson and Richardson's first child caught the acting bug at a young age when he made his film debut in "Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues."

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His most notable credits include "Broken Symphony," "Vox Lux," and "Big Dogs and Paradise." The actor even starred alongside his world-famous dad in "Cold Pursuit" and "Made in Italy."

In 2018, Michael honored his mom when he officially changed his last name to Richardson, a gesture warmly supported by his loving father. "The Rising" star openly talked about the loss of his mother in March 2021.

Micheal Neeson on the red carpet ahead of the "Vox Lux" screening during the 75th Venice Film Festival at Sala Grande on September 4, 2018 in Venice, Italy. / Source: Getty Images

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Michael told The Times that the daunting experience was more challenging to comprehend, mainly because it happened so suddenly, saying:

"When it's unexpected, and it's just a complete freak accident, it messes with your mind, whether you believe in fate or not ...it can send you for a bit of a head spin."

On how he keeps her memory alive, Michael shared he latches on to the little memories, whether it is her laugh or energy in the room or her cooking. The youngster added that he luckily has films of his mom to go back and watch and is grateful for that.

Vanessa Redgrave with her son and grandsons Raphael Nero, Carlo Nero, and Michael Neeson during the VIP arrivals of the Amex Gala premiere for "Foxcatcher" during the 58th BFI London Film Festival at Odeon Leicester Square on October 16, 2014 in London, England. / Source: Getty Images

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His younger brother followed a similar career as the family, having studied acting and digital media at Tulane University. He bagged a few gigs on the production side of filming but later ventured into business.

Daniel launched an eco-friendly clothing line called Pine Outfitters in 2017 and later admitted that it was not his intention to have a career in the business industry.

He was a passionate athlete and loved playing hockey, tennis, soccer, and football. But his most desired career was to become a film producer in showbiz or a hockey player.

Liam Neeson and son, Daniel Neeson, during the New York Islanders vs New York Rangers game at Madison Square Garden on October 14, 2014 in New York City. / Source: Getty Images

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While his older brother changed his last name, Daniel opted to keep his father's last name. As for dad, he is not looking for a companion at this point since their mother passed.

"I'm keeping myself to myself. And I like it that way. I'm not hunting," said Neeson. That is not to say that he has not fallen in love with anyone else since Richardson died.

The Hollywood A-lister told "Sunrise" Australian hosts David Koch and Natalie Barr once that while filming in the Land Down Under, he fell in love with an Aussie native whom he could not pursue because she was taken.

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