Liam Neeson has spoken of his ongoing grief following the tragic death of his wife, actress Natasha Richardson, five years ago in a freak skiing accident.
The actor told CBS’s Anderson Cooper that her death at the age of 45 still doesn’t seem real in a poignant interview that will air Sunday on 60 Minutes.
Neeson, 61, told Cooper how he arrived at a Canadian hospital to be told by doctors that Richardson was brain dead after her accident.
Grieving: Despite the passage of time, Neeson still can’t believe the death of his wife was real.
Widower: Neeson was devastated by the sudden loss of his wife Natasha Richardson.
Loving couple: Neeson seen with wife Natasha Richardson in 2007 at a screening of Seraphim Falls in New York.
Wife and mother: Richardson was married to Neeson for 14 years before she died tragically at the age of 45.
‘She was on life support… I went in to her and I told her I loved her, said “Sweetie, you’re not coming back from this, you’ve banged your head”‘ he said.
‘She and I had made a pact, if any of us got into a vegetative state that we’d pull the plug. That was my immediate thought,”Okay, these tubes have to go. She’s gone.”‘
The Irish actor married Richardson in 1994 and the couple had two sons.
Liam Neeson on moment he said goodbye to his wife.
Taking comfort: Neeson is pleased that Richardson’s organs have helped three people live.
Funeral: Neeson with family and friends at the funeral of Natasha Richardson.
Sad day: Neeson comforts Natasha Richardson’s mother, actress Vanessa Regrave.
He said that even today, he expects Richardson to come walking through the door.
‘[Her death] was never real,’ he told Cooper.
‘It still kind of isn’t. There’s periods now in our New York residence when I hear the door opening, especially the first couple of years… anytime I hear that door opening, I still think I’m going to hear her.’
Neeson told Cooper his grief is less immediate but still a part of his life.
‘It hits you. It’s like a wave. You just get this profound feeling of instability… the Earth isn’t stable anymore and then it passes and it becomes more infrequent, but I still get it sometimes.’
Following Richardson’s accident, Neeson kept his wife on life support for a short time so that her family and friends could say goodbye.
Now, he says, Richardson is living on in three other people.
Look of love: Neeson and Richardson a year before her death in a skiing accident.
Lone appearance: Neeson attends a recent event in New York alone.
‘Donated three of her organs, so she’s keeping three people alive at the moment. Her heart, her kidneys and her liver. It’s terrific and I think she would be very thrilled and pleased by that,’ he said.
Cooper interviewed Neeson in the lead-up to the release of his latest film, Non Stop, which premieres next week.
The actor said he’s bemused to still be playing the action hero at his age.
‘I’m 61 years of age, man, you know? Going around, fighting these guys, yeah, I feel a wee bit embarrassed, you know?’