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"I found a great woman in Keely Shaye," Pierce Brosnan told PEOPLE shortly after their wedding in 2001

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April 06, 2017 06:51 PM

Pierce Brosnan found happiness after tragedy.

The actor met his current wife, Keely Shaye Smith, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in 1994 when she was working as a TV correspondent — two years after he had lost his first wife and mother of three children Cassandra to cancer. Smith was sent to interview Ted Danson, but when the actor was called away, Smith and Brosnan connected at a party.

“He was captivating,” Smith told PEOPLE in 2001. “Tall, dark and handsome–everything that everybody would immediately be attracted to. He had this mischievous sparkle in his eyes. I thought, ‘Wow! Wow!'”

The couple had their first date a few days later, when they “sat down under the stars and he held my hand. There were fireworks going off over our heads, and Kenny Loggins was singing. We talked until 3 in the morning,” says Keely. “I understand why women find him sexy, because he is an appealing man. He really likes and appreciates women.”

The feeling was mutual. The actor told PEOPLE in 2001 that he couldn’t get enough of Smith when they started dating — even when his career continued to take off and he was cast as James Bond in 1995. “Wherever I went in the world I missed her, and I’d send her tickets to come so we could be together. We just seemed to fit,” he said.

The couple welcomed their first son Dylan in 1997 and in 2001 came their second, Paris. Just a few months after Paris arrived, the couple tied the knot and have been happy ever since.

“I found a great woman in Keely Shaye,” he said. “Not if I searched a million times over would I find one as good.” Keely returned the compliment. “He’s intelligent, captivating and his real beauty emanates from the soul,” she said. “And, like a fine wine, he’s aging beautifully.”

Brosnan’s late daughter Charlotte served as a bridesmaid at the wedding — and she was truly happy her dad was happy again.

“Just seeing the ultimate love that these two people have for each other was unbelievable,” Charlotte told PEOPLE at her father’s 2001 wedding. “My dad found it again, and that makes me happy.”

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