Vanessa Redgrave speaks out on Natasha Richardson’s death: ‘It never becomes OK’

Vanessa Redgrave is still coping with the loss of her daughter Natasha Richardson.

Richardson, a Tony Award-winning actress, passed away in 2009 at age 45 after suffering head injuries in a skiing accident. Her sister Joely Richardson helped the star’s widower, actor Liam Neeson, raise the couple’s two sons.

“Time does not heal; that would seem to me to say that suddenly it’s OK, and it’s not,” Redgrave, 81, told People magazine in their latest issue. “It never becomes OK.”

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“You are different,” added Joely, 54. “Just different — changed. What we have done well as a family is that in honoring and supporting one another, we reformed to become a strong, loving unit.”

British actress Natasha Richardson during a news conference for the movie "The White Countess" in Shanghai on Oct. 8, 2004. 

British actress Natasha Richardson during a news conference for the movie "The White Countess" in Shanghai on Oct. 8, 2004.  (Reuters)

Redgrave said the tragedy gave her family a sense of new appreciation for life.

“In my case, I treasure my family much, much more because you realize that the difference between being alive and dead is the difference of a little fingernail,” said the veteran actress. “I think that makes you more aware and more caring.”

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“Try to find the joy in life because we are so lucky to be here,” said Joely. “Every day, every birthday that goes by, I’m just so grateful.”

In March 2018, Joely told Closer Weekly she believed Richardson has never left her side despite the family tragedy.

May 1985: Daughters of actress Vanessa Redgrave (L-R) Natasha Richardson & Joely Richardson.

May 1985: Daughters of actress Vanessa Redgrave (L-R) Natasha Richardson & Joely Richardson. (Getty)

“She will be a part of me until the day I check out,” Joely revealed to the magazine. “Weirdly, we’re still in it together.”

Joely also recalled supporting Neeson raising his two sons after they lost their mother.

“The years were very, very difficult when she left us,” Joely admitted. “But we’ve all looked after each other and stepped up to the plate. No one could fill her shoes, of course, but we’re trying to be the best people we can. I believe all our loved ones are around us.”

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Back in 2014, the now 66-year-old Irish star spoke to Anderson Cooper on “60 Minutes” about Natasha’s tragic death.

December 8, 2002. Natasha Richardson and her husband, actor Liam Neeson, arrive at the world premiere of the film, "Maid in Manhattan," in New York City.

December 8, 2002. Natasha Richardson and her husband, actor Liam Neeson, arrive at the world premiere of the film, "Maid in Manhattan," in New York City. (Reuters)

“I was told she was brain dead,” he explained. “And seeing this X-ray it was, like, ‘Wow.’ But obviously, she was on life support and stuff. And I went...to her and told her I loved her. Said, ‘Sweetie, you’re not coming back from this. You’ve banged your head. It’s – I don’t know if you can hear me, but that’s – this is what’s gone down. And we’re bringing you back to New York. All your family and friends will come.’”

Neeson added that the couple – who married in 1994 – had “made a pact” that if “any of us got into a vegetative state that we’d pull the plug.”

Natasha also “donated three of her organs, so she’s keeping three people alive at the moment. Her heart, her kidneys and her liver.”

“I think she would be very thrilled and pleased by that too, actually,” said Neeson.

May 5, 2008: Natasha Richardson at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala.

May 5, 2008: Natasha Richardson at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute Gala. (AP)

Neeson has stayed busy not only raising their sons as a single parent but also making new movies.

“I’m not good without work,” he admitted. “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.”