LIAM Neeson has compared his relationship with Natasha Richardson to Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers as he opened up about her death in a new interview.
Actress Richardson died in March 2009, at the age of 45, from head injuries following a skiing accident in Canada.
Neeson (61) spoke about his loss in an interview with US show 60 Minutes. "She was a radiant beauty. This cascading hair I remember, that was very, very attractive," he said. "I'd never had that kind of an explosive chemistry situation with an actress. She and I were like Astaire and Rogers. We had this wonderful kind of free dance."
The actor admitted he still struggles to come to terms with her loss five years on.
"Any time I hear that door opening I still think I'm going to hear her. Grief hits you like a wave, you get this profound feeling of instability. You feel like a three legged table. The earth isn't stable any more," he said.
Neeson was filming a movie in Toronto when Richardson suffered a fatal brain haemorrhage on a skiing holiday in Quebec. She fell on a beginner's slope and hit her head. She reportedly refused medical treatment and returned to her hotel where she was taken ill.
The Star Wars actor recalled: "I spoke to her and she said, 'Oh darling. I've taken a tumble in the snow.' That's how she described it."
He went on: "I flew up immediately. When I was in the air the pilot was told, 'Listen, divert your flight to Montreal because she's gonna be taken to the big hospital in Montreal.' I got a taxi to this hospital and this doctor, he looked all of 17, showed me her X-ray. And you didn't need to be a rocket scientist to see what was happening.
"It was like a cartoon. The brain's squashed up against the side of the skull – as the blood tries to get a release."
He continued: "I was told she was brain dead. And seeing this X-ray it was, like, 'Wow.' But obviously she was on life support and stuff. And I went in to her and told her I loved her. I said, 'Sweetie, you're not coming back from this. You've banged your head. 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.' And that was more or less it.
"She and I had made a pact – if any of us got into a vegetative state that we'd pull the plug. So when I saw her and saw all these tubes, that was my immediate thought.
"But three of her organs were donated, 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."