Micheél Neeson, the teenage son of Liam Neeson and Natasha Richardson, has said in his first-ever interview that he descended into a “dark” world of alcohol and drug abuse after the death of his mother in 2009.
Just 13 when his mother died after a tragic skiing accident in Canada, Micheél Neeson struggled to cope with the magnitude of his loss.
“In my mind, subconsciously, I either pushed it out or stored it deep inside,” he told The Sunday Times newspaper, adding, “And so, within the next week I was like ‘Okay, on with my life.’ ”
Instead of grieving, the troubled teen hit the party scene in New York – where he started to smoke marijuana and drink heavily. “Last spring, things just started going downhill. The people I was with, we were partying a lot,” he said. “It was dark. I hit rock bottom.”
Looking back, the self-professed “mama’s boy” said he was struggling to deal with his loss. “Everybody said, ‘This kid has lost his mum, that’s where the problem comes from.’ And I was like, ‘No, it isn’t, I just like to party.’ But looking back I realize it was a delayed reaction.”
With the help of his family (he calls Vanessa Redgrave “an awesome grandma”) and friends, as well as a stint in wilderness therapy in Utah where he got sober surviving for months on dehydrated food in the desert – today, the 19-year-old is living in London. A former intern at Savile Row and Celine, he is now working as a fashion gallery curator.
But he may follow in his mother’s footsteps yet. “Acting is a huge interest,” he said, although his dad, whom he calls “an inspiration” due to his work ethic, is not so keen. “My dad says, ‘Please, can you just be a farmer or a bartender or something?’ ”
The younger Neeson added that he thinks Richardson, who was born into one of Britain’s most powerful thespian dynasties, would approve.
“She never vocalized it, but I know that my mum liked the idea of me becoming an actor. She would have thought that was cool.”