Joely Richardson reflects on tragic death of sister Natasha in 2009 skiing accident

Joely Richardson has opened up about the tragic death of her sister Natasha Richardson following a 2009 skiing accident.

Parent Trap actor Natasha died in 2009, two days after hitting her head while undertaking a beginner’s lesson at a resort in Mont Tremblant, Canada.

Initially deciding she felt fine, Natasha returned to her hotel room – but was taken to a local hospital after falling ill 45 minutes later. The following day, she was airlifted to a New York hospital and placed on life support.

The 45-year-old died – with her husband Liam Neeson by her side – after her family made the decision to switch off life-support, and an autopsy report found the actor had suffered a blunt blow to the head.

Joely has reflected on her experience of the “devastating” turn of events in a new interview.

The former Nip/Tuck actor said she was filming BBC series The Day of the Triffids at the time she learnt her sister had been involved in an accident.

“It was the weirdest thing,” she told The Times, adding: “We didn’t know it was going to be the end. Work released me – I was covered for insurance for a few days. I grabbed a tiny bag and jumped on the plane to New York. As a result, I didn’t have any clothes or anything with me.”

What made the situation even more awful for Joely was the fact she had to wear her sister’s clothes to her funeral.

Natashsa Richardson married Liam Neeson in 1994 (Getty Images)
Natashsa Richardson married Liam Neeson in 1994 (Getty Images)

“So when it came to the funeral I had to borrow clothes and shoes of Tash’s, because I didn’t have anything of my own,” she continued.

“I was suddenly aware I was speaking to people in the church wearing my sister’s shoes and it was just terrible, awful, devastating. And then, of course, on a different level I had to step into them.”

Joely, 59, said taking Natasha’s role as the family organiser “didn’t come to me easily”, stating: “It was a very strange transition that took years to happen. I wasn’t doing it consciously. I was just getting on with it as anyone does when someone dies and the family absolutely goes into crisis.

“It wasn’t just about children being left without a mother. It was about the ramifications for me. I hadn’t lived a day of my life without Tash. I didn’t know the world without her.”

Joely Richardson has reflected on the tragic death of her sister Natasha (Getty Images)
Joely Richardson has reflected on the tragic death of her sister Natasha (Getty Images)

Joely says, in all, it took her “about five years to get over the shock and trauma and horror” of losing Natasha in an “unimaginable” way.

“Now we’ve had a decade of this new life and I feel we’ve done really well. It’s become second nature,” she said.

Joely will next be seen in Guy Ritchie’s TV spin-off to his 2019 film The Gentlemen, which will arrive on Netflix on 7 March.