“Helen is a remarkable woman, a remarkable actress,” the Taken star, 70, gushed to Entertainment Tonight Canada on Tuesday, February 14. “I should be so lucky and be honored to have spent three or four years with that lady. She’s really something else.”
The former couple met while working together on the 1981 film Excalibur, where Mirren, 77, played Morgana le Fay and Neeson portrayed Sir Gawain. After connecting on the King Arthur project, the pair lived together in London for four years and established a romantic connection.
“I fell in love with Helen Mirren,” Neeson recalled to Anderson Cooper during a 2014 episode of 60 Minutes. “Oh my God. Can you imagine riding horses in shiny suits of armor, having sword fights and stuff, and you’re falling in love with Helen Mirren? It doesn’t get any better than that.”
While appearing on The Graham Norton Show in 2018, the 1923 actress clarified she and Neeson were not just a casual fling. “We didn’t date — we lived together! We were a serious item for a while,” Mirren recalled at the time.
During their romance, Mirren helped Neeson obtain an agent and his career began to blossom. While the Memory actor appreciated his partner’s assistance, he realized needed to make a name for himself and end things with the Academy Award winner.
“It was difficult for him to be under my shadow,” Mirren told The New York Times Magazine in 1994. “I was well known; I had the money … [and I] had a sense from Liam that it was time for him to come out from under my wing.”
The F9 actress also noted that it was “difficult” for the pair “to let go” of their relationship but Neeson handled their breakup with “elegance and grace.”
Following their split, Mirren moved on with her future husband Taylor Hackford — whom she met while on the set of 1985’s White Nights. The twosome tied the knot in 1997.
Neeson, for his part, dated Julia Roberts and Brooke Shields before settling down with Natasha Richardson in 1994. The duo shared two children, Micheál and Daniel. In 2009, Richardson tragically died after sustaining a head injury from a skiing accident.
30 years after their breakup, Mirren once again gushed over the Schindler’s List actor and revealed that she still cared about her former partner.
“We loved each other. We were not meant to be together in that way, but we loved each other very, very much,” the Red star explained to AARP in November 2022. “I love him deeply to this day. He’s such an amazing guy.”