Pierce Brosnan seems to have it all, a 40-year career in movies that includes playing one of the most iconic characters on screen, James Bond, and a loving family that supports him every step of the way.
But in the early ’90s, life was very different for the Hollywood actor. He had only been married for 11 years when he lost his wife to cancer.
When the then 24-year-old Irish actor met his first wife, Australian actress Cassandra Harris, he was bowled over by her beauty and “didn’t think for a moment that she would be someone I would spend 17 years of my life with.”
However, Cassandra had different thoughts about this rising star who at the time had recently graduated from drama school and had made a handful of stage appearances.
“Here was this funny looking man with this short haircut. But we had a lot in common…and once we started talking, we never stopped,” she said of his first meeting with Brosnan, according to Lessons Learned in Life.
The two dated for three years and married in 1980. They became inseparable and had a son together. Brosnan even adopted Cassandra’s children, Chris and Charlotte, from a previous marriage after his father died in 1986.
Brosnan was a devoted husband, father and stepfather, but at just 48 years old his world came crashing down.
While filming The Deceivers in Rajasthan, India in 1987, Brosnan’s wife fell seriously ill. Cassandra was later diagnosed with ovarian cancer and Brosnan gave up his career to care for Cassandra.
Pierce has often said that his love for Cassandra “made me the man I am.”
Cassandra Harris finally succumbed to the disease in 1991, at age 43.
Brosnan struggled to cope with her death: “When your partner has cancer, life changes. Your schedule and reference for your normal routines and your way of seeing life, all that changes. Because you’re dealing with death. You are dealing with the possibility of death and dying. And it was like that through chemotherapy, through the operation of first look, second look, third look, fourth look, fifth look,” he said.
“Cassie was very positive about life. I mean, she had the most incredible energy and insight on life. She was and is a terrible loss, and I see it reflected, from time to time, in my children”.
Harris had always wanted her husband to play James Bond and four years after her death he got the role. It could be said that this casting changed Brosnan’s life, but perhaps a meeting with a reporter the year before was the moment that really changed his life.
Journalist, author and TV host Keely Shaye Smith met Brosnan when she was sent to interview Ted Danson and she ended up hooking up with Pierce at a bar in Mexico.
The couple started dating in 1994 and married 7 years later in Ireland in 2001. They have two children together, Dylan and Paris, and move between their homes in California, Hawaii, and two homes in Ireland.
The two have a relationship that we can all aspire to, and it seems that Brosnan is a natural when it comes to family life, which may come as a surprise to many considering his upbringing.
The County Louth-born star endured severe hardship growing up in Ireland and then London after being abandoned by his father, Tom Brosnan, who was a carpenter, and left the family home before his son’s birthday. year.
His mother, Mary Smith, left Ireland when he was just four years old and moved to London to train as a nurse, leaving Brosnan to care for his grandparents.
“Because he was so lonely,” he told The Guardian, “and we lived on the outskirts of town, across the River Boyne, I was an outsider. Only son.
His life today couldn’t be more different as a father of five, grandfather of three, and devoted husband.
But in 2013, Brosnan suffered another devastating loss when the disease that killed his wife also claimed the life of his adopted daughter Charlotte, who was only two years younger than her mother when she died. Charlotte left behind her husband Alex and two children.
Speaking at a Stand Up to Cancer event, Brosnan said: “Watching someone you love see this insidious disease eat away at their life little by little, that kind of pain becomes an indelible part of your psyche.”
“I held the generous, strong and beautiful hand of my first wife, Cassie, when ovarian cancer took her life too soon. And just last year, I held the hand of my graceful and wonderful daughter Charlotte before she, too, died from this terrible hereditary disease.”
During the anguish of his life, Brosnan says it is his faith that got him through the pain.
“I would say that faith, being Irish, being Catholic, is ingrained in my DNA,” he said.
Despite having painful memories of the brutal regime of his strict religious school where beatings were common and “religion shoved me down my throat”, he never abandoned his faith.
“It always helps to have a little prayer in your back pocket,” he said. “At the end of the day, you have to have something, and for me, that is God, Jesus, my Catholic upbringing, my faith.”
This man is a survivor; whatever horror life has thrown at him has made him stronger and closer to those he loves around him, he is an inspiration.
Despite many painful memories of his upbringing, he still relies on his faith to get him through the tough times. Please share.