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Why focus on Liam’s lady friend is so nasty

After a bereavement or a specially dramatic break-up, a male star’s ‘new’ woman friend always bears “more than a passing resemblance” to her predecessor. Or else, er, she “looks nothing like her”.

Whatever, a compare-and-contrast session involving a man’s current girlfriend and a past love, is a favourite — and particularly nasty — media ruse.

It initiates a round of prolonged gawping over photos of both women, and also provides a hook for reams of speculation, chattering and general nonsense about the new relationship.

Of course, it’s particularly unpleasant when the former love is dead, with all the connotations a so-called lookalike new love brings with her. Hmmm. Not over it. Hmmm. Trying to replace her. Hmmm. Hmmm. So, spare a thought for Liam Neeson, who has conducted himself with great dignity through a series of family bereavements, which included, most painfully for him, the death of his beloved wife Natasha Richardson.

Somehow, Liam has held it together, a stoical example to his two teenage sons that life must go on.

Since his wife’s untimely death last March, he has made movies, supported local causes and handled questions about his grief with politeness.

Now, he’s been photographed leaving a London restaurant hand in hand with Freya St Johnston, a businesswoman. There is talk of huge bouquets of flowers being delivered to her home.

If he has met someone new, good luck to him. The man deserves a chance of happiness after what he’s been through.

Comparing Freya to Natasha is pointless, crass and cruel. If Liam is moving on, so should we.

Let’s wish him all the best and leave him alone.

Belfast Telegraph