Belfast Telegraph

Liam Neeson's son: I fell into dark world of drink and drugs after mum died

Teen Micheal reveals how grief sent his life spiralling out of control and he hit rock bottom

By Adrian Rutherford

The teenage son of Liam Neeson has told how he spiralled into a "dark" world of drink and drugs following the death of his mother.

Micheal Neeson was just 13 when Natasha Richardson died after a skiing accident.

Now 19, he admits the tragedy changed his life. Neeson says a "delayed reaction" led him to party wildly, smoke cannabis and drink heavily.

After hitting "rock bottom" a year ago, he has finally got his life back on track after "wilderness therapy" in the US desert.

Neeson's Ballymena-born father has starred in Hollywood blockbusters such as Schindler's List and Taken.

The teenager is now making a name for himself with his first creative venture, a fashion gallery in London. This week marks the sixth anniversary of Natasha Richardson's death. The 45-year-old died in hospital two days after falling and hitting her head during a skiing lesson in Canada.

In an interview with the Sunday Times Style magazine, he says: "Of course, when it happened it was devastating. 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'."

He carried on his education at a New England boarding school. But by the time he reached his late teens, Neeson began drinking wildly and smoking cannabis. He adds: "I was in New York, partying a lot, looking for self-gratification. I wanted to be the man, doing these drugs.

"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.'" Neeson says the family took a long time to recover from their loss.

"Not having a mother figure definitely set the balance of the family off," he added.

"So I took solace in my friends, just living with different families."

Neeson admits that he got to a point a year ago where his life started to fall apart.

"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."

Neeson turned to wilderness therapy in Utah and spent months out in the desert getting sober.

He lived in tents and hasn't touched alcohol or drugs since. Then he went to London, where he has stayed with lifecoach Topes Calland. Neeson says his mother's influence has rubbed off on him.

But he also pays tribute to his father's roots in Northern Ireland and work ethic. "He came from a small town, Ballymena. His mum was a dinner lady at the school, his family ran a pub," he said. "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."

Belfast Telegraph


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