Liam Neeson on death of wife Natasha Richardson: ‘When I hear the door opening, I still think I’m going to hear her’

Neeson's wife Richardson died aged 45 of a skiing accident five years ago

Liam Neeson still lives in hope that his late wife Natasha Richardson, who died five years ago in a skiing accident, will walk through the door of their New York home.

The Taken actor opened up about his loss in a candid new interview with Anderson Cooper, aired on CBS show 60 Minutes over the weekend (scroll down to watch in full).

"[Her death] was never real. It still kind of isn’t," the Irish star told Cooper. "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."

He went on to recall arriving at the Canadian hospital where Richardson was being treated. There, he was told by doctors that his wife was brain dead as a result of the swelling on her brain caused by the impact of the collision when her head hit a rock.

Neeson was faced with the tremendously difficult decision of whether or not to turn off her life support machine. He decided to keep her alive for a short period to allow family and friends to say goodbye.

Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role to marry Natasha Richardson. Here are the actors that did accept the role

"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… 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.’"

Even in the face of such heart-wrenching adversity, however, he still manages to find some solace in the fact that Richardson was an organ donor.

"[She] 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.

But even that isn’t enough to stem the continual grief that washes over him.

Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson together in 1994 Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson together in 1994 "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."

During the hour-long episode, Neeson took Cooper back to his home town of Ballymena outside Belfast in Northern Ireland. There, he recalled his hard, working class upbringing. He visits his old grammar school, where the Schindler’s List star took his first drama lessons. He also talks about his first film roles, and falling "in love" with Helen Mirren when he starred opposite the actress in Excalibur in 1981. He lived with Mirren in the early 80s.

Neeson is currently on the promotional trail for thriller Non Stop, which will premiere for the first time this week.

"I’m 61 years of age, man, you know?" he said of his role as an air marshal in the new thriller, which also stars Downton Abbey actress Michelle Dockery.  "Going around, fighting these guys, yeah, I feel a wee bit embarrassed, you know?"

Watch the 60 Seconds interview in full below:

Read More: Liam Neeson Bids Final Farewell To Natasha Richardson
Michelle Dockery On Dowton Abbey The Musical
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR and Payroll Manager

£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This dynamic outsourced contact...

Recruitment Genius: Production & Quality Control Assistant

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity for a ...

Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor - Kettering - £32,000

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group HR Advisor with an established...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Generalist

£40 - 50k (DOE) + Bonus: Guru Careers: We are seeking a HR Manager / HR Genera...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor