The son of actress Natasha Richardson, who died after a tragic skiing accident in 2009, has revealed how he went off the rails following her death.
Micheal Neeson, who is also the son of Academy Award-winning actor Liam Neeson, said it initially took him just a week to move on after his mother passed away when he was 13.
But, having carried on as if nothing had happened, the now 19-year-old said he eventually hit the party circuit and began doing drugs.
“I was in New York. I was going out, partying a lot, looking for self-gratification. I wanted to be the man, doing these drugs,” he said.
“Everybody said, ‘This kid has lost his mum, that’s where the problem comes from’. And I was like, ‘No, it isn’t, I just like to party’.
“But looking back, I realise it was a delayed reaction. You meet so many people who lost a parent when they were young and then they’ll break down when they’re 45.”
Richardson, who was born into one of Britain’s most powerful thespian dynasties and was known for her roles in The Parent Trap and Patty Hearst, suffered a head injury when she fell on the slopes during a skiing trip in Quebec.
Paramedics at the time did not realise the seriousness of her fall and it was only seven hours later that the actress’s injuries became apparent.
She died the next day in New York, where she had been taken by air ambulance. She was 45.
Her son, a self-professed “momma’s boy”, described how the untimely death was “all very sudden”.
“Of course, when it happened it was devastating,” Neeson said.
“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, on with my life’.”
It was last year after he “hit rock bottom” that he realised he needed to deal with his issues and entered rehab.
“Last spring, things just started going downhill,” he told the Sunday Times Style magazine.
“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.”
Richardson left behind her husband Liam Neeson, her sons Micheal and Daniel, and her famous family, including her stage icon and political activist mother Vanessa Redgrave, and actress sister Joely Richardson.
Neeson, who is the eldest of Richardson’s two sons, said the family took a long time to recover from her death.
“Not having the mother figure definitely set the balance of the family off,” he said.
“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.”
Neeson added that his father – star of Schindler’s List Liam Neeson – was an “inspiration” to him.
He said he respected the Northern Irishman’s work ethic, but insisted he himself was more like his mother.
“I am definitely similar to her – into the social side of life, love my friends,” Neeson, a burgeoning fashion gallery curator, said.
“She never vocalised it, but I know my mum liked the idea of me becoming an actor. She would have thought that was cool.”
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