For the first time, Liam Neeson is opening up about the most difficult period of his life: the sudden death of his wife, Natasha Richardson.
In an emotional exchange, the "Non Stop" star sat down with Anderson Cooper for an upcoming "60 Minutes" interview to talk about the tragic day, and how he is coping five years later.
"[Her death] was never real. It still kind of isn't," the 62-year-old actor explains in a preview. "There [are] 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."
Richardson — the Tony Award-winning actress known for her roles in films such as "The Parent Trap" and "Evening" — passed away in March 2009 after a ski accident that resulted in severe brain trauma. She was 45.
Neeson also reveals some of the surprising details of his final moments with Richardson.
"She was on life support," Neeson recalls. "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 … 'OK, these tubes have to go. She's gone.'"
Neeson says that he decided to keep Natasha on life support for a short period of time so that friends and family could say goodbye. Then, Liam knew what his wife wanted him to do next.
"Donated three of her organs, so she's keeping three people alive at the moment: her heart, her kidneys and her liver," he says. "It's terrific. And I think she would be very thrilled and pleased by that."
She's probably also very pleased with their two sons, Daniel, 17, and Micheál, 18, who Neeson has been busy raising on his own.
While they have moved forward as a family following the accident — just this week, the actor was spotted touring Boston College with Micheál — there are still moments of sadness.
"It hits you," Liam tells Cooper. "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."
Catch the full interview with Liam Neeson when it airs on CBS this Sunday at 7 p.m. ET.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Liam Neeson
- Natasha Richardson
- Anderson Cooper