Liam Neeson’s son, Michael, felt his life change irrevocably when his mother, actress Natasha Richardson, passed away in 2009. The 19-year-old is now speaking about the tragic loss, one that devastated him through his teenage years, though he admits he had a "delayed reaction" to her death.
However, he has spoken for the first time about how the devastating loss affected his teenage years, admitting that grief led him down a path of excessive partying. It wasn’t until last year with the help of his father and younger brother Daniel, that Micheál was able to get his life back on track.
The partying was, he confesses, a “delayed reaction" to her death. "Of course, when it happened it was devastating”, Micheál told the Sunday Times Style magazine.
“But in my mind, subconsciously, I either pushed it out or stored it deep inside. And so, within the next week I was like, ‘OK, get on with my life’.”
Micheál was studying at a New England boarding school when Natasha died after falling during a skiing lesson in Canada. Speaking to the magazine, Micheál revealed that after school he was “in New York, partying a lot, looking for self-gratification”.
He adds: “Everybody said, ’This kid has lost his mom, that’s where the problem comes from.’ And I was, like, ‘No, it isn’t, I just like to party.”
It was after the teenager hit “rock bottom” that he realised he needed help. “Last spring, things just started going downhill,” he said.
“The people I was with, we were partying a lot. I couldn’t leave my house. I was unmotivated, couldn’t wake up in the morning. It was dark. I hit rock bottom and couldn’t do anything.”
Micheál sought help at a centre in the Utah desert where he slept in a tent. He has been sober ever since.
“Not having the mother figure definitely set the balance of the family off,” he admitted. “I am the eldest. When I was younger, I was more of a momma’s boy, my brother was more of a dad’s boy. So I took solace in my friends, just living with different families.”
Now living in the UK, Micheál has credited his father Liam, the star ofthe Taken series, for helping him to turn his life around.
“He came from a small town, Ballymena.” said Michael. “His mom was a dinner lady at the school, his family ran a pub.
“ It took him years to make it. He’s an inspiration. He’s a hard-working man, his mindset is still like his parents, I respect that.”