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March 31, 2017 04:27 PM

When Liam Neeson took on the role of widower Daniel in the 2003 Christmas hit Love Actually, he had no idea how closely his life would eventually mirror his beloved character’s.

Just six years after the film’s debut, Neeson’s own wife – actress Natasha Richardson – died following a ski accident.

After reuniting with Love Actually‘s star-studded cast for a Red Nose Day special, Neeson opened up to Entertainment Weekly in its newest issue about how re-visiting the past on-screen allowed him to reflect off-screen. (For more revelations from the past four decades of entertainment, visit ew.com/untoldstories.)

“It’s 14 years ago now and we’ve all lived lives. Some of us have died. Oh, my dear old friend Alan Rickman, God rest him,” Neeson told EW of the late actor, who died in January after a battle with cancer. “Some have gotten divorced. I’ve lost my wife.”

He continued, “And, oh, sure, plenty of times I’ve thought about this film and my own life. Love Actually, that’s the way it is. That’s the tapestry of life.”

 

Liam Neeson and son Michael Neeson in 2015
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Liam Neeson and his sons
TM/NHL/GC Images

 

Richardson died in 2009 after falling while skiing on the beginner’s slope at Quebec’s Mont Tremblant. Though the injury initially seemed minor, she was evacuated to a hospital in Montréal and joined there by Neeson, who had been filming in Toronto. Richardson was then flown to New York, where members of her family gathered at her bedside and she ultimately passed. Her two sons with Neeson – Micheal and Daniel – were 13 and 12, respectively, at the time.

Micheal is now 21, and Daniel, 20.

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In 2014, Neeson opened up about losing Richardson in an interview with 60 Minutes, saying that he turned to work to help him through his grief.

“I’m not good without work,” he said. “I just don’t – I just don’t wallow too much. You know? And I just didn’t want to – especially for my boys – seem to be wallowing in sadness or depression.”

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