Actor Liam Neeson has known both love and pain. When he married his wife Natasha Richardson, he prepared himself for years of pure marriage bliss, but 15 years later, he suffered unimaginable loss.
"Love Actually" actor Liam Neeson knew he had met the woman of his dreams when he fell in love with Natasha Richardson. When they finally got married, they shared the kind of love only possible in the movies they both starred in.
The two met at the corner of Broadway and W. 45th Street when they starred in the 1993 revival of "Anna Christie." At the time, Neeson was a perennial bachelor who would spend his free time wooing other female stars such as Brook Shiels, Barbra Streisand, Julia Roberts, and Hellen Mirren.
Liam Neeson during Day 9 of Zurich Film Festival 2014 on October 3, 2014 in Zurich, Switzerland. | Source: Getty Images
Despite Richardson being married to Producer Robert Fox, her onstage chemistry with Neeson was electrifying. So was their off-screen attraction. By then, rumors of an alleged affair started hitting the tabloids, and by April that same year, she ended her four-year marriage to Fox.
NEESON AND RICHARDSON'S RELATIONSHIP
Right off the bat, the two knew they wanted to spend their lives together, and when Neeson started receiving invitation calls for him to play James Bond, his wife forbade him, saying:
"Darling, if you're offered James Bond, and you're going to play it, you're not going to marry me."
During an interview with James Corden, Neeson recalled how he would walk up to Richardson and do the James Bond signature hand-gun sign while humming the iconic 007 theme song if only to get on her nerves.
In keeping with her wishes, Neeson declined the role. But it was Richardson's response to his letter that let him know he'd fallen in love with her.
Country Living reports that when Richardson celebrated her 30th birthday, Neeson sent her a card as Oskar because, at the time, he'd been starring on the "Schindler's List." Richardson thought it was too friend-like and asked him what kind of a relationship theirs was.
Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson arrive at the Costume Institute Gala "Rock Style," an exhibit of rock 'n' roll fashions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. | Source: Getty Images
Neeson thought she was genuine and fell hard for her. That summer, in 1994, they exchanged vows on a farm in upstate New York.
The "Wild Child" star and her husband's lives were moving fast, and they welcomed their first child, son Micheál Richardson in June 1995, followed by their second, Daniel Neeson, in August 1996.
Besides playing the unstoppable dad in the series "Taken," Neeson is a real-life invincible dad. Still, he and his wife shared 15 beautiful years of marriage before tragedy struck.
RICHARDSON'S FREAK ACCIDENT AND SUDDEN DEATH
Natasha Richardson at Stuyvesant High School in New York City, New York, United States | Source: Getty Images
"The Haunting" actor and his wife had a beautiful union, but in 2009, Richardson met her untimely demise in a freak accident on a Canadian ski slope.
The "The Parent Trap" actress had been skiing at the Mont Tremblant ski resort in Quebec when she fell. She had not been wearing a helmet and reportedly did not collide with anything during her fall.
Initially, it did not seem like a severe fall, and she did not seek medical attention, even joking about her accident. However, her condition worsened, and she got admitted to Hôpital du Sacre-Coeur in Montreal before being flown to New York City's Lenox Hill Hospital.
Neeson had been filming "Chloe" in Toronto, and as soon as he received the news, he rushed to the hospital and was by his wife's side a few hours after she fell. The doctors told him his wife was brain dead. Neeson would tell 60 Minutes host Anderson Cooper:
"She and I had made a pact. If any of us got into a vegetative state, we'd pull the plug. That was my immediate thought, 'Okay, these tubes have to go. She's gone.'"
The star also recalled his last words to his wife: "I went in to her and told her I loved her. I said, 'Sweetie, you're not coming back from this. You've banged your head.'"
DEALING WITH RICHARDSON'S PASSING
Liam Neeson attends the premiere of the film '96 Hours - Taken 3' at Zoo Palast on December 16, 2014 in Berlin, Germany. | Source: Getty Images
Theirs was a beautiful marriage, and it is no wonder Richardson's passing struck Neeson hard. Five years after her demise, he admitted he felt her death "was not real."
He told Cooper he still had moments where he thought his wife was in their house. He shared that because he still lived in their shared home in New York, he could sometimes hear the door opening just the way Richardson did it.
"There's periods now in our New York residence when I hear the door opening, especially the first couple of years ... any time I hear that door opening, I still think I'm going to hear her."
Actor Liam Neeson attends the "The Shallows" world premiere on June 21, 2016 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
In an exclusive interview in 2020, Neeson shared that he would speak to his wife every day at her grave, a mile and a half down the road from his upstate New York residence.
MOVING ON AND RAISING THEIR KIDS
Following his wife's demise, Neeson knew he had to pick up the brown pieces of his heart and move on, if only for the sake of his children. He knew that he alone bore the onus of raising them.
He admitted that his most challenging parenting moments have been balancing his career and raising his boys, who were only teenagers when their mother passed on.
Liam Neeson, Michael Neeson, and Daniel Neeson at Madison Square Garden on October 31, 2011 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
However, he is grateful that they were already used to him being away for some time and because they have a great support system. The actor shared that the most crucial lesson he has taught his sons is the importance of manners.
On several occasions, adults have complimented him on how well-behaved and respectful his sons are, and that's how he knows he's done an excellent job with them. But it is two-way traffic, and he says his boys have helped him grow as a man.
Liam Neeson (L ) and Michael Neeson attend the Maison Mais Non launch party as Micheal Neeson launches fashion gallery in Soho on June 2, 2015 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
Neeson's eldest son, Micheál, also opened up about how his mother's passing affected him, saying that due to the sudden nature of her demise, the event sent him into a bit of a headspin. Over the years, he has learned to hold on to every one of his mother's memories, no matter how tiny. He shared:
"Whether it's her laugh or her energy in the room or her cooking. I do have her films to go back and watch her in, which I'm incredibly grateful for."
Years after his wife's demise, "The Other Man" actor finally found love with businesswoman Freya St. Johnston. The two were first spotted together leaving London's high-end Nobu restaurant, with people bearing witness to the resemblance between Johnston and Neeson's late wife.
Liam Neeson and Freya St Johnston at The Curzon Mayfair on March 12, 2019 in London, England. | Source: Getty Images
However, a short while later, the actor decided to dip his foot in the dating pool again and fell in love with an Australian beauty after spending some time in her home country filming "Blacklight." Sadly, the romance was doomed to fail as the lady in question was "taken."