Pierce Brosnan’s tragic past admittedly contributed to making him the man he is today and the action flick hero the world has come to love. However, he owes his recovery and blissful present to his second wife, Keely Shaye Smith.
Before Smith, Brosnan was married to actress Cassandra Harris, with whom he shared three children: Charlotte, Chris, and Sean.
While he adopted the two oldest following his marriage to their biological mom, Cassandra, their youngest child, Sean, was born in 1983. He remains the first and only offspring of their eleven-year marriage.
The family of five lived together happily until death came knocking, claiming Cassandra’s life. The tragic loss marked the beginning of decades of tragedies that plagued Pierce Brosnan.
Brosnan’s first wife, Cassandra Harris, died in December 1991, following a harrowing battle with a life-threatening illness. Doctors diagnosed her with malignant ovarian cancer in 1987, just four years after becoming a third-time mom.
Her health kept deteriorating as the years went by, preparing the family for the worst. Cassandra eventually succumbed to her illness after a series of failed treatments, with her husband lying by her side in her hospital bed. She was 43-years-old.
Brosnan has described the moment of his wife’s passing as the longest night of his life. He recalled how they spent that fateful December night together as they lay comforting each other on the hospital bed.
He admitted Cassandra did more of the comforting while he lay helplessly, overcome with anger and confusion. The loss of the love of his life proved difficult to overcome, leaving him devastated and in dire need of saving.
Years after her death, the actor remembered that night vividly, and every moment spent with his first wife, who he credits with making him everything he was. He once divulged:
“She has made me the man I am, the actor I am, the father I am. She’s forever embedded in every fiber of my being. She was there with me every day. I was so blessed to have met someone like that.”
For a while, he had the blessing of their three children to fill the void and help him live past the tragic loss. But that too was snatched away from him.
BROSNAN LOST HIS SON TO DRUGS
Notably, Cassandra’s death took a toll on Brosnan’s family in more ways than one. Not only was the legendary James Bond role player left broken, but his kids were also forced to deal with their mom’s demise the best way they could.
Perhaps drugs seemed like a way out for Brosnan’s first son, Christopher. Shortly after his mom’s death, Christopher became hooked on drugs like cocaine and heroin, eventually spiraling out of control.
He credits his second wife with saving him from his dark years, restoring his hope, and helping him move on.
In 1997, Brosnan’s son received a three-month jail sentence for drunk driving. After serving his jail term, his dad tried all he could to offer him a lifeline and pulled him out of the throes of addiction.
He offered him opportunities to work on some of his movies to get by in life. He also urged Christopher to quit his addictive habits to no avail.
Finally, the “Die Another Day” star had enough of his son’s addiction and opted to disown his son and cut all ties with him. In a 2005 interview, the actor revealed :
“Christopher is still very lost. Shockingly so. I know where he is, but he’s having a hard life. I can only have strong faith and believe he will recover.”
The iconic actor also added that his son has refused to accept all the lifelines thrown his way. The harsh reality left the actor in so much pain, but he had no choice but to let his son choose either to “get busy living” to “get busy dying.” So far, the now 46-year-old has the latter.
LOSING BELOVED DAUGHTER TO CANCER
Twenty-two years after Cassandra’s death, Brosnan experienced another tragedy that reopened wounds he thought long forgotten. His daughter, Charlotte, was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, the same illness that claimed her mom’s life decades ago.
She lost her long battle to the deadly disease in June 2013, leaving behind two children and her husband of a few days, Alex Smith.
Following the death of his daughter, Brosnan released a heartfelt statement, expressing how broken the loss made him. He also voiced one of his greatest wishes; for the world to find a cure to the wretched illness that claimed the lives of his wife and daughter.
In 1994, three years after Cassandra’s death, Brosnan met model Keely Shaye Smith in a Mexican bar. The duo hit it off almost instantly, and for the first time in years, the Hollywood legend found himself loving again and willing to move on from his past hurt.
They nurtured their romance for years, eventually tying the knot in 2001 in a lavish ceremony. He credits his second wife with saving him from his dark years, restoring his hope, and helping him move on. Little wonder he describes her as his north star.
The duo went on to welcome two children, Dylan Brosnan and Paris Brosnan. Despite finding a new love, the memories of his first wife remain engraved in his heart and a constant presence in their marriage.
While Cassandra’s memory is always in the marriage, Smith remained kind, understanding, and compassionate at every turn, encouraging him to mourn his first love.
Twenty years later, the 68-year-old actor and his “beautiful luscious love” remain happily married, representing one of Hollywood’s most enviable couples.