Beloved actress Natasha Richardson's tragic death in 2009 shook Hollywood to its core. Not only was her sudden passing a reminder of how fragile life is, but it also left her two sons Micheál and Daniel motherless. Now her "mom's boy" son Micheál is opening up about that time in his life and how he is still healing today.
Natasha Richardson's Son On Losing Mother
Micheál Richardson told People he recently changed his name from Neeson to his mother's maiden name as "a way to honor her and her side of the family and carry on the name." He explained, "When you lose somebody so close to you, sometimes you just push it away and out of your head because the thought of them hurts. But I found that's an unhealthy thing to do. You have to remember them."
Micheál was only 13 when his mother hit her head while skiing and died two days later from an epidural hematoma. Natasha was only 45. He opened up to The Times that "She was a terrific, terrific mother. What I wish is I could have just these adult conversations with her, these random questions about the industry or music. I was a mama's boy growing up and she was really my best friend. I mean we were all a close family, but Danny was my dad's boy and I was my mom's boy, for sure."
The tight-knit family was wholly unprepared for her passing. "It was so sudden," Micheál recalls, "when it's unexpected and it's just a complete freak accident, it really sort of messes with your mind, whether you believe in fate or not. It can send you for a bit of a head spin, and so you just latch on to the tiny little memories, whether it's her laugh or her energy in the room or her cooking. I do have her films to go back and watch her in, which I'm incredibly grateful for."
His favorite film to watch her in is the 1998 family comedy The Parent Trap. He says it's "because I just see her so much as that person," in loving mother "Elizabeth James". Micheál is clearly grateful he has something many people don't. "I'm so lucky too, because she's passed away, I can still watch her and see how she worked and also it's a great thing to have. And I do, but there's still a lot there I need to watch."
Andy Cohen, a lifelong friend of Natasha and her son agreed with his sentiments in Vanity Fair. Her character in The Parent Trap is "kind of playing the perfect mother…That’s reminiscent of how she was as a mom. She was not a checked-out superstar. She was involved and engaged and wonderful and loving. I mean, I think of her every day. So I can't imagine being her son and losing her. It's heartbreaking to me still."
Micheál and his father Liam Neeson have just starred side by side in Made in Italy that follows the story of an estranged father and son who reconnect while restoring the home their late wife and mother left them. His father was the one who brought the script to Micheál. "He had this look in his eye. He was like, 'I want you to read this.' He didn't say anything else." The "parallels" to their own reality were so clear "that it felt like my mom, in a spiritual sense, had a hand in it."