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

Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, - 1 Year contract

£50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager Shared Services - Uxbridge, Stock...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Human Resource Officer and Executive Assistant

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join one of...

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence