Over the years, Neeson has praised his late wife. But Richardson was not the only wonderful woman in his life. Helen Mirren, the sought-after star and acclaimed actress, met while working on the film “Excalibur” (1981). He was on set but had yet to meet her.
All of that changed when Neeson’s friend, Karen Haines, offered to introduce him to the English native, but they both saw her from a distance before that.
Neeson and his pal Haines were surprised to see 76-year-old Mirren walking in a beautiful scenic costume a hundred yards away.
The Hollywood hunk was so taken with the Dame that he let out an expletive and later explained his feelings for her: “I was smitten,” Neeson said.
During an interview with “BBC America” in January 2018, Mirren recalled her relationship with the “Ordinary Love” star, stating that they lived together:
“We never dated. We were a serious item for four years and lived together.”
Neeson, 70, told The New York Times Magazine in 1994 that Mirren was as beautiful offstage as she was on, and that she was a remarkable human being:
“She was just as stunning up close as she was on stage. So relatable. I was head over heels in love with this extraordinary human being.”
The Irishman was aware that the “RED” star was older than him, but he never inquired as to how much older (Mirren is seven years his senior). During an interview with CBS in February 2014, Neeson gushed about his former lover and co-star.
The Golden Globe nominee revealed to journalist Anderson Cooper that he met Mirren while riding horses in shiny suits of armor and having sword fights, among other things. Nothing, he said, could top that experience.
COOPING UP TOGETHER
The duo ended up living together when Neeson was still a struggling actor. After working side-by-side on the film “Excalibur,” where Neeson played Gawain and Mirren played Morgan le Fay, the next step was for him to relocate to London.
The Oscar Award winner encouraged Neeson to move, and he went to live with her in her flat during a time of demonstrations by Irish Nationalists in the early 80s.
Neeson said it was terrifying for an Irish native to be living in London during that period because bombs went off, and people with Irish accents were attacked.
Still, he found some work in the British Theater. While cohabiting with Mirren, the Hollywood stars had a great time together as they shared mutual hobbies, such as camping.
During an appearance on “Good Morning Britain” in January 2015, Mirren revealed that she loved camping and missed it. The Dame recounted her camping experience with former boyfriend Neeson in Cornwall: “I like camping with Liam,” she said.
The Academy Award winner poked fun at the car they used and a tent they slept in, mentioning that they were too small for Neeson’s height, as he is 6 foot 4. He may not recall the trip quite as fondly.
MUHAMMED ALI TRIED TO ‘PULL’ MIRREN BUT NEESON WASN’T A JEALOUS BOYFRIEND
There was no room for jealousy between the former couple during their relationship. One time, Neeson revealed that Muhammed Ali flirted with Mirren when they were still dating.
Instead of being offended, the two-time Tony Award nominee was in awe of the heavyweight boxer who boldly made a move on his girlfriend in his presence:
“Wow, Muhammed Ali is trying to pull my girl. How cool is that!”
“The Marksman” star, a huge boxing fan himself, revealed the said moment occurred at a celebrity bash in London’s Dorchester Hotel in the early 1980s.
Neeson shared that though he had met some of Hollywood’s movie A-List stars, nothing could compare to his joy when conversing with former boxers like the legendary Ali.
NEESON STRUGGLED TO BE UNDER MIRREN’S SHADOW
His lover at the time was not only his significant other, but Mirren also paved the way for the Hollywood hunk to become a star in his own right.
With her help, Neeson got himself an agent, which may be the move that nudged him in the right direction as he bagged a role in the famous “Schindler’s List.”
The accomplished action star had minor roles in various films before bagging his breakout role as Oskar Schindler in the 1993 film. But it was not until he got cast in that movie that he gained worldwide recognition.
Neeson’s talent is without question. His good looks and sexual magnetism are some of those qualities that made Hollywood pay attention to him. Be that as it may, his fame was nothing compared to Mirren’s.
Fellow Irish actor Gabriel Bryne once found the “Battleship” star painting his girlfriend’s house at one point. Neeson expressed his frustrations of not being able to get a job, adding the worst part of the daunting experience was that Mirren had lots of offers:
“I can’t find work. Worse, I live with a woman who gets a mountain of scripts delivered to her every morning.”
Meanwhile, the “The Queen” actress was well aware of his concerns and once admitted, “It was difficult for him to be in my shadow.”
When that became clear, Mirren realized it was time for them to part ways, for her boyfriend to step out of her shadow. Making that decision was difficult because they still had strong feelings for each other.
However, the entire experience was not as difficult as it appeared because the couple was able to divorce amicably. Mirren revealed that Neeson handled the breakup with grace and elegance, and that they both loved him.