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Liam Neeson's son hit rock bottom after mum died but U2's Bono and Vanessa helped him through

By Christopher Woodhouse

Published 09/06/2015

Family and friends of Natasha Richardson gather for a photo prior to the funeral of Richardson in front of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009. At left is Vanessa Redgrave, Richardson's mother, and right is Liam Neeson, Richardson's husband.
Family and friends of Natasha Richardson gather for a photo prior to the funeral of Richardson in front of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009. At left is Vanessa Redgrave, Richardson's mother, and right is Liam Neeson, Richardson's husband.
Liam Neeson waves to journalists as he arrives with family and friends to the funeral of his wife Natasha, March 22, 2009
Actor Liam Neeson waves as he arrives to St. Peter's Church in Lithgow, N.Y., Sunday, March 22, 2009, for the funeral of his wife Natasha Richardson.
Family and friends of Natasha Richardson gather prior to her funeral in front of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009. At center right is Vanessa Redgrave, Richardson's mother, and at second left is Richardson's sister Joely Richardson.
Liam Neeson, center left, awaits the casket of his wife Natasha Richardson along with other pallbearers as they stand in front of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009.
Actor Ralph Finnes, right, and a fellow mourner arrive at the funeral of Natasha Richardson, Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009
Pallbearers carry the casket of actress Natasha Richardson to St. Peter's Cemetery in Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009.
Pallbearers carry the casket of actress Natasha Richardson to St. Peter's Cemetery in Lithgow, N.Y., Sunday, March 22, 2009
Actors Liam Neeson, right, and Vanessa Redgrave, left, stand with family members before a funeral for his wife and her daughter, Natasha Richardson, at St. Peter's Church in Lithgow, N.Y., Sunday, March 22, 2009.
Actress Uma Thurman, center, and other mourners leave a graveside service for actress Natasha Richardson at St. Peter's Cemetery in Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009
Liam Neeson and his mother-in-law Vanessa Redgrave walk through St. Peter's Cemetery in Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009 after a funeral for his wife and her daughter, Natasha Richardson.
Natasha Richardson
Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson
Vanessa Redgrave dressed for her lead role in the film "Isadora', talks with her daughter Natasha, in 1967
Liam Neeson leaves Lenox Hill Hospital in New York
Antonio Neeson, second from right and his brother Daniel Jack Neeson, left, sons of actress Natasha Richardson leave Lenox Hill Hospital in New York
Natasha Richardson
British actress Vanessa Redgrave, center, poses with her daughters actresses Natasha Richardson, left, and Joely Richardson
Natasha Richardson
Vanessa Redgrave and her husband, film director Tony Richardson, with their first child, week-old daughter Natasha, 1963
Liam Neeson's wife Natasha Richardson
Natasha Richardson
Natasha Richardson
Natasha and Liam
Leading men: Liam Neeson and his son Michael
Vanessa Redgrave

Liam Neeson's son has spoken movingly of how he coped with his mother's death, rehab and how his world famous father has schooled him in the significance of the Troubles.

Micheal Neeson described how family and friends rallied round to support him and his younger brother Daniel following his mother Natasha Richardson's death from injuries suffered in a skiing accident in March 2009.

One such family friend who gave his advice was U2 frontman Bono. "We were just talking and he said, 'Yeah I lost my mum at your age too', and that was all he said," Micheal (19) said. "Dad was really touched. Bono wasn't saying it as in, 'Look at what I became'."

Liam and his sons visit Ireland at least once a year, and Micheal has been brought up with a clear understanding of the Troubles.

"They were such a big part of Dad's life," he said. "It wouldn't be rare for a car to get blown up on his way to school. It was tough. The older I get, the more I realise, 'Whoa! We're blood, but we come from completely different walks of life'."

Micheal was only 13 when his mum died, and his grandmother, the famed actress Vanessa Redgrave, was great at helping him cope with the terrible loss.

"She's become a mother figure because she spent time looking after us," Micheal said. "I can talk to her about anything, and I'll go and ask her for woman advice. Not to sound cheesy, but she's a beautiful person."

He admitted he went off the rails while living in New York and filling the void left by his mum's tragic death with partying.

"I was putting socialising with my friends as my top priority," he explained.

"Rock bottom was when I chose to miss classes to meet up with them, as well as not realising that family and work come first."

Leading men: Liam Neeson and his son Michael
Leading men: Liam Neeson and his son Michael
Actor Ralph Finnes, right, and a fellow mourner arrive at the funeral of Natasha Richardson, Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009
Pallbearers carry the casket of actress Natasha Richardson to St. Peter's Cemetery in Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009.
Pallbearers carry the casket of actress Natasha Richardson to St. Peter's Cemetery in Lithgow, N.Y., Sunday, March 22, 2009
Actors Liam Neeson, right, and Vanessa Redgrave, left, stand with family members before a funeral for his wife and her daughter, Natasha Richardson, at St. Peter's Church in Lithgow, N.Y., Sunday, March 22, 2009.
Actress Uma Thurman, center, and other mourners leave a graveside service for actress Natasha Richardson at St. Peter's Cemetery in Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009
Liam Neeson and his mother-in-law Vanessa Redgrave walk through St. Peter's Cemetery in Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009 after a funeral for his wife and her daughter, Natasha Richardson.
Natasha Richardson
Natasha Richardson and Liam Neeson
Vanessa Redgrave dressed for her lead role in the film "Isadora', talks with her daughter Natasha, in 1967
Family and friends of Natasha Richardson gather for a photo prior to the funeral of Richardson in front of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009. At left is Vanessa Redgrave, Richardson's mother, and right is Liam Neeson, Richardson's husband.
Liam Neeson waves to journalists as he arrives with family and friends to the funeral of his wife Natasha, March 22, 2009
Actor Liam Neeson waves as he arrives to St. Peter's Church in Lithgow, N.Y., Sunday, March 22, 2009, for the funeral of his wife Natasha Richardson.
Family and friends of Natasha Richardson gather prior to her funeral in front of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009. At center right is Vanessa Redgrave, Richardson's mother, and at second left is Richardson's sister Joely Richardson.
Liam Neeson, center left, awaits the casket of his wife Natasha Richardson along with other pallbearers as they stand in front of St. Peter's Episcopal Church in Lithgow, N.Y. on Sunday, March 22, 2009.
Liam Neeson leaves Lenox Hill Hospital in New York
Antonio Neeson, second from right and his brother Daniel Jack Neeson, left, sons of actress Natasha Richardson leave Lenox Hill Hospital in New York
Natasha Richardson
British actress Vanessa Redgrave, center, poses with her daughters actresses Natasha Richardson, left, and Joely Richardson
Natasha Richardson
Vanessa Redgrave and her husband, film director Tony Richardson, with their first child, week-old daughter Natasha, 1963
Liam Neeson's wife Natasha Richardson
Natasha Richardson
Natasha Richardson
Natasha and Liam
Vanessa Redgrave

"After a while, I thought, 'What am I doing? This is instant gratification - there's no substance to your conversation'."

Last summer, Micheal decided to turn his life around and spent a month in a wilderness therapy camp in Utah in the US.

"In order to find myself, I wanted to get down to the old roots of Mother Nature," he said.

"Of course, other articles bigged it up as a sob story about a celebrity child who goes to rehab, which really wasn't the case.

"What I wanted to address was a lack of motivation and direction in my life."

The young Neeson camped, cooked outdoors and even learned to stitch leather bags using primitive techniques, and made new friends along the way. He followed that with an apprenticeship at a Savile Row tailoring firm, which he says taught him dedication and discipline.

He is now set to open a new fashion gallery, Maison Mais Non, in Soho, next week.

Belfast Telegraph

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