On May 18th, 2009, a tragedy occurred. Natasha Richardson, a stage and screen actress who is likely best known and remembered for her role in The Parent Trap, died after a terrible skiing accident left her with a traumatic brain injury. She was 45. Richardson left behind her husband, actor Liam Neeson, and their two children, Micheál and Daniel, who were 13 and 12 -- respectively -- at the time of her untimely departure. It has been nearly 10 years since that horrific incident happened, and Micheál Neeson, now 23, wants to pay his respects to his belated mother. That's why the son has changed his last name to Richardson, to honor and ultimately remember his dearly departed mother and to keep her loving spirit alive in her absence.
As it was confirmed earlier this week by Page Six, Micheál Neeson has officially changed his name to Micheál Richardson. The death of Natasha Richardson had a profound effect on the young man -- as you can imagine -- and when his mother passed away, Micheál found himself in a "dark" place. It is never easy for a child to lose their parent, especially when his parents are as famous and beloved as they are, and it caused the young man to admittedly make some bad decisions in his early life. But it sounds like Micheál Richardson is starting to enter a better place and move forward a bit.
Neither Micheál Richardson nor Liam Neeson has responded publicly to the name change. But one prominent member of the family has spoken out.
Micheál Richardson's decision to change his last name might be seen by some people as disrespectful of his famous father, or perhaps a legal means by which the young man can escape the enormous fame found by his dad. But Vanessa Redgrave, Micheál's grandmother, and the mother of the late Natasha Richardson believes it is most definitely not a slap in the face for Neeson. Rather, it's a meaningful way for Micheál to honor his mother.
That wasn't because he wanted to avoid his father's fame, which is enormous. He wanted to hold his mother close to him -- because she was a remarkable actress. Absolutely remarkable.
Meanwhile, here's how Micheál Richardson explained the fallout of his mother's death, and how it caused the young man to make some bad choices. The quote comes from an interview Micheál Richardson -- then Micheál Neeson -- gave with The Sunday Times, talking about the aftermath of Natasha Richardson's horrific death and how Micheál dealt with the news at such a young, impressionable age.
Things just started going downhill. The people I was with, we were partying a lot. It was dark. I hit rock bottom. 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 realize it was a delayed reaction.
It's nice to see that Micheál Richardson has found a way to honorably and meaningfully remember his late mother, Natasha Richardson. And through her son, the loving spirit of Natasha Richardson will hopefully live on, years upon years after her untimely passing.