Liam Neeson never remarried after losing his wife, Parent Trap actress Natasha Richardson, in 2009, who suffered brain trauma from a skiing accident.
Recently, Natasha’s sister, Joely Richardson, posted a photo on Instagram of her sister and Liam posing together in a black and white photo that came up as a memory on her phone.
“A few years ago I was in a hotel in Dublin and really missing my sister Natasha,” she captioned the post. “Passing through the lobby on a screen this picture came up as ‘previous guests’- I smiled broadly. My phone just sent it to me as a memory. Tash in all her glory ♥️”
Natasha had been taking a skiing lesson in Quebec on a slope that was meant for beginners when she fell and hit her head. Initially she seemed fine, even signing paperwork that stated she didn’t want medical treatment.
In 2014, five years after her death, Neeson opened up about what happened that day while on 60 Minutes with Anderson Cooper.
“I spoke to her and she said, ‘Oh darling. I’ve taken a tumble in the snow,” Liam recalled at the time. “That’s how she described it.”
At the time, Neeson had been filming in Toronto and immediately flew to see his wife who was being transported to a hospital in Montreal.
“When I was in the air the pilot was told, ‘Listen, divert your flight to Montreal because she’s gonna be taken to the – the big hospital in Montreal,’” he explained. “I got a taxi to this hospital and uh – this doctor, he looked all of 17, showed me her X-ray. And you didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to see what was happening.
“The brain’s squashed up against the side of the skull. And it’s – as the blood tries to get a release,” he continued. “I was told she was brain dead. And seeing this X-ray it was, like, ‘Wow.’ But obviously she was on life support and stuff. And I went in to her and told her I loved her. Said, ‘Sweetie, you’re not coming back from this. You’ve banged your head. It’s – I don’t know if you can hear me, but that’s – this is what’s gone down. And we’re bringing ya back to New York. All your family and friends will come.’ And that was more or less it.”
Neeson explained how he and Natasha had “made a pact” that if one of them were to ever enter a vegetative state, they’d “pull the plug”.
“So when I saw her and saw all these tubes and stuff, that was my immediate thought. Was, ‘OK, these tubes have to go. She’s gone.’”
Although Liam stayed true to his promise to Natasha, no doubt it was still probably the most difficult decision in his life to take her off life support. He kept her plugged in a little longer after speaking with her so that her family and friends could say goodbye.
Liam and Natasha first met in 1993 while working together on Broadway’s production of Anna Christie. At the time, Natasha was approaching the end of her marriage with theater and film producer, Robert Fox. Their marriage ended shortly after the Broadway show and Liam and Natasha were moved in together and married with two sons within three years of them meeting.
“Obviously I fell very much in love with him,” Natasha told Daily News in 2009, days before her death.
“I’d never had that kind of an explosive chemistry situation with an actor, or actress,” Liam said on 60 Minutes, recalling them working together on Broadway. “She and I were like [Fred] Astaire and [Ginger] Rogers. We had just this wonderful kind of dance, free dance on stage every night, you know?”
Following her death, Liam put his focus on both his career and his two sons, Micheál and Daniel.
On being a single parent, Liam told Cooper that it could’ve been “a hell of a lot worse”. In order not to dwell on the loss of their mother, Liam decided the best course of action was to get back to work.
“I’m not good with–without work. I just don’t–I wallow too much. You know? And I just didn’t want to–especially for my boys, to be–seem to be wallowing in sadness or depression or–” he said, noting that having a schedule really helps him out. And he’s stayed busy nearly constantly since Natasha’s passing, working in more than 30 films and TV shows since 2009, his most recent being the film Marlowe, which hits theaters next week.
But he still keeps Natasha close, admitting to Inquirer.net in 2020 that he still visits her grave in New York to talk with her.
“I speak to her every day at her grave which is about a mile and a half down the road,” he said. “I go down there quite often, so I do speak to her as if she’s here. Not that she answers me.”