Liam Neeson ‘Never Did Know’ How Much Older Helen Mirren Was – It Was Difficult for Him to Be In Her Shadow

    Bonafide movie star Liam Neeson may be known for his constant love for his late wife, Natasha Richardson. However, there was another wonderful woman in his life, Helen Mirren.

    Actor Liam Neeson was married to the love of his life, Natasha Richardson. The couple first met in 1993 while working on Broadway’s “Anna Christie.”

    Neeson and the actress, who was married to producer Robert Fox during that time, had an undeniable connection. Richardson said it was terrible timing when she and Fox filed for divorce because she was already involved with the “Taken” star.

    Liam Neeson with his actress wife Natasha Richardson during the British premiere of his film, "The Other Man", in Leicester Square, London. | Source: Getty Images

    However, she did not allow that to affect their future together. Their whirlwind romance took off, and the lovebirds purchased a farmhouse in upstate New York. In July 1994, they exchanged their wedding vows on their property. Richardson and Neeson welcomed two children together, Michael and Daniel. Sadly, Richardson died in March 2009.

    Over the years, Neeson has sung his late wife’s praises. But Richardson was not the only incredible woman he had in his life. The sought-after star and esteemed actress Helen Mirren crossed paths when working on the film “Excalibur” (1981). He was on set but had not met her yet.

    That all changed when Neeson’s friend, Karen Haines, offered to introduce him to the English native, but they both saw her from a distance before that happened.

    Unexpectedly, Neeson and his pal Haines saw Mirren walking in a beautiful scenic costume – a hundred yards away from them.

    The Hollywood hunk was so charmed that an expletive word dropped out of his mouth and later explained that he became besotted with the Dame: “I was smitten,” said Neeson.


    In January 2018, Mirren recalled her relationship with the “Ordinary Love” star during an interview with “BBC America,” stating that they lived together:

    “We didn’t date. We lived together for four years – we were a serious item for a while.”

    Hollywood A-Listers Helen Mirren and Liam Neeson during an appearance on the "Graham Norton Show" at The London Studios, south London. | Source: Getty Images

    In 1994, Neeson, 70, told The New York Times Magazine that Mirren was as beautiful as she was on stage, adding she was a remarkable human being:

    “She was as beautiful up close as on stage. Just so human. I was in love with this extraordinary human being.”

    The Irish native knew the “RED” star was older than him, but he never asked just how old (Mirren is seven years his senior). In February 2014, Neeson still raved about his former lover and co-star during an interview with CBS.

    The Golden Globe nominee told journalist Anderson Cooper that he fell in love with Mirren while riding horses in shiny suits of armor, having sword fights, among other things. He noted that nothing could top that experience.

    The duo ended up living together when Neeson was still a struggling actor. After working side-by-side on the film “Excalibur,” where Neeson played Gawain and Mirren played Morgan le Fay, the next step was for him to relocate to London.

    The Oscar Award winner encouraged Neeson to move, and he went to live with her in her flat during a time of demonstrations by Irish Nationalists in the early 80s.

    Liam Neeson arriving at the Los Angeles premiere "Battleship" at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on May 10, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

    Neeson said it was terrifying for an Irish native to be living in London during that period because bombs went off, and people with Irish accents were attacked.

    Still, he found some work in the British Theater. While cohabiting with Mirren, the Hollywood stars had a great time together as they shared mutual hobbies, such as camping.

    During an appearance on “Good Morning Britain” in January 2015, Mirren revealed that she loved camping and missed it. The Dame recounted her camping experience with former boyfriend Neeson in Cornwall: “I like camping with Liam,” she said.

    The Academy Award winner poked fun at the car they used and a tent they slept in, mentioning that they were too small for Neeson’s height, as he is 6 foot 4. He may not recall the trip quite as fondly.

    There was no room for jealousy between the former couple during their relationship. One time, Neeson revealed that Muhammed Ali flirted with Mirren when they were still dating.

    Instead of being offended, the two-time Tony Award nominee was in awe of the heavyweight boxer who boldly made a move on his girlfriend in his presence:

    “Wow, Muhammed Ali is trying to pull my girl. How cool is that!”

    Helen Mirren attending the Los Angeles premiere of "Catherine The Great" at The Billy Wilder Theater at the Hammer Museum on October 17, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

    “The Marksman” star, a huge boxing fan himself, revealed the said moment occurred at a celebrity bash in London’s Dorchester Hotel in the early 1980s.

    Neeson shared that though he had met some of Hollywood’s movie A-List stars, nothing could compare to his joy when conversing with former boxers like the legendary Ali.

    His lover at the time was not only his significant other, but Mirren also paved the way for the Hollywood hunk to become a star in his own right.

    With her help, Neeson got himself an agent, which may be the move that nudged him in the right direction as he bagged a role in the famous “Schindler’s List.”

    The accomplished action star had minor roles in various films before bagging his breakout role as Oskar Schindler in the 1993 film. But it was not until he got cast in that movie that he gained worldwide recognition.

    Neeson’s talent is without question. His good looks and sexual magnetism are some of those qualities that made Hollywood pay attention to him. Be that as it may, his fame was nothing compared to Mirren’s.

    Fellow Irish actor Gabriel Bryne once found the “Battleship” star painting his girlfriend’s house at one point. Neeson expressed his frustrations of not being able to get a job, adding the worst part of the daunting experience was that Mirren had lots of offers:

    “I can’t get a job. The worst of it is, I’m living with a woman who has a mountain of scripts delivered to her every morning.”

    Meanwhile, “The Queen” starlet was well aware of his concerns and once acknowledged: “It was difficult for him to be under my shadow.”

    Once that became apparent, Mirren understood that it was time for them to go their separate ways, for her boyfriend to come out of her shadow. It was not easy making that decision because they still had strong feelings for each other.

    But the entire experience was not as challenging as it seemed because the couple was able to split amicably. Mirren revealed that Neeson handled the breakup with elegance and grace and that they loved each other. Their sweet words about each other in several interviews prove it.

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