Dame Helen Mirren was reunited with Liam Neeson during a recent episode of The Graham Norton Show – and was left pleasantly surprised when her former boyfriend recalled the moment he first fell in love with her.
Over the weekend, some 35 years after they first met, Liam Neeson and Dame Helen Mirren sat down together on Graham Norton’s iconic red sofa to promote their respective films, The Commuter and Winchester.
It wasn’t long before Norton reminded viewers that the Hollywood stars dated between 1980 and 1985 after meeting on the set of their 1981 fantasy film, Excalibur.
Or, as Mirren was quick to correct the TV host: “We didn’t date. We lived together for four years – lucky me!”
Neeson, perhaps emboldened by Mirren’s candour, added that it was love at first sight when he first met Mirren.
“I remember being on the set and standing with Ciarán Hinds as Helen walked towards us dressed in her full Morgana Le Fey costume and we both went, ‘Oh f**k,” he said.
“I was smitten. I think Ciarán was too but I was very smitten!”
Mirren, touched by Neeson’s admission, replied: “I never knew that.
“You’ve never told me that before – it’s amazing.”
Neeson went on to reveal the moment he first realised Mirren felt the same about him.
“Before I met her and we worked together, I had read somewhere that if she fancied a guy she would imitate his walk behind his back,” he explained.
“I turned around one day and she was doing that to me.”
It wasn’t long before the pair were an item, and Neeson soon moved into Mirren’s London flat. However, while her career went from strength to strength, he struggled to find work.
In a 1994 profile of Neeson, Mirren said: “It was difficult for him to be under my shadow. I was well known. I had the money.”
Eventually, they decided it was time for Neeson “to come out from under my wing. He handled it with great elegance and grace. We loved each other. It was difficult to let go.”
Neeson went on to marry actress Natasha Richardson in 1994 until her unexpected death in 2009 after a skiing accident. Mirren has been married to director Taylor Hackford since 1997.
Images: Rex Features