Why are some of the best love stories some of the most tragic ones? We wish it wasn’t like that, but it is. Think about it: Romeo and Juliet, Tristan and Isolde, Titanic…all gut-wrenching, tragic love stories that break your heart.
And then there’s Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson’s story. Warning: Get the tissues ready now.
Their story begins in 1993, when the two met on stage starring in the Broadway show Anna Christie. Natasha, 29 at the time, was actually married to producer, Robert Fox—and no, that isn’t the tragic part, since that marriage was apparently on its last legs anyway.
Truthfully, it wasn’t that long after closing night of Anna Christie when Natasha called it quits with Robert. We’re not sure if it was the headlines about rumors of an affair with Liam or what, but we do know that Liam and Natasha’s chemistry was undeniable at this point. They both received Tony nominations for their performances, probably since they work so well together.
After Natasha got divorced some four months after the show, it was still unclear what her and Liam actually “were” for a while. That is, until her 30th birthday, when Liam gave her a card that had a bit of a platonic feel to it. Natasha wasn’t having it and called him out for his antics. She responded, “This is like a letter from a buddy. What is our relationship?”
Liam wasn’t taken aback by her directness at all. In fact, he was smitten as anything. “That was when I knew I really loved this person,” Liam told the NY Daily News. “I thought, ‘This is real and genuine and is something that has to be protected.'”
That sealed the deal on everything. Shortly thereafter, they bought a house together in update New York and, the summer of 1994, that’s where the two said their I dos.
In the winter of 1994, Liam and Natasha celebrated the opening of the movie Nell, the film the two stared opposite of each other in. And not even a year later, in the summer of 1995, their firstborn, Micheál, was born. They had their second son, Daniel, the following year.
Needles to say, life was good for Liam and Natasha. Until it wasn’t.
When tragedy strikes
In 2009, Natasha sadly passed away after a fatal skiing accident in Quebec, Canada at the age of 45.
Liam was filming a movie in Toronto at the time and got to the hospital as quickly as he could. One of the first things he was told by staff was that his wife was brain dead.
“She and I had made a pact,” Liam said on a 2014 episode of 60 Minutes. “If any of us got into a vegetative state that we’d pull the plug. So when I saw her and saw all these tubes and stuff, that was my immediate thought.”
While heartbreaking and tragic beyond belief, there is some happy that came out of the situation that Liam is proud of his wife for. “[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,” Liam said.
How is Liam doing these days?
Recently, there has been news that there will be a Love Actually sequel. The original came out in 2003 where, ironically, Liam played the role of Daniel, a widower raising his wife’s son, Sam, in London.
Returning to the cast for the sequel wasn’t exactly an easiest thing in the world for Liam. He said it was a tough moment of reflection for him as it made him think about Natasha.
“[Her death] was never real. It still kind of isn’t,” Liam had said on 60 Minutes. “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.”
We feel for Liam. Even nine years later we know the death of a loved one doesn’t get any easier.
We have no idea how he’s still acting as well as he is, but the man is absolutely brilliant in all of his films, and we’re very excited to see the sequel of Love Actually, which is actually part of a fundraiser for Red Nose Day. It’s slated to come out on May 25.
To learn more about his tragic love story with Natasha, as well as his upcoming role in the Love Actually sequel, be sure to check out the video below.