In a touching and often heartbreaking interview with Anderson Cooper for "60 Minutes," Liam Neeson for the first time opens up about the death of his wife Natasha Richardson. The 45-year-old actress died in March of 2009 after a freak ski injury to her head resulted in a fatal epidural hematoma. 

"I was told she was brain dead," he tells Cooper from his home in upstate New York. "And seeing this X-ray it was, like, 'Wow.' You know. But obviously she was on life support and stuff. And I went in to her and told her I loved her. Said, 'Sweetie, you're not coming back from this. You've banged your head. It's-- I don't know if you can hear me, but that's-- this is what's gone down. And we're bringing ya back to New York. All your family and friends will come.' And that was more or less it. You know?"

Neeson says that he and Richardson had previously made a pact not to continue life support should either of them suffer an injury that caused a vegetative state. "So when I saw her and saw all these tubes and stuff, that was my immediate thought," he says. "Was, 'OK, these tubes have to go. She's gone.' But donated three of her organs, so she's keeping three people alive at the moment. Yeah. Her heart, her kidneys and her liver."

When asked by Cooper if that act of generosity inspired any good feelings, Neeson said: "Yeah. It's terrific. And I think she would be very thrilled and pleased by that too, actually."

Almost five years after her passing, Neeson says there are moments when he still feels like the loss isn't real. 

"There's-- there's periods now in our New York residence when I hear the door opening, especially the first coupla years, she would always drop the keys in the-- on the table. Say, 'Hello?' So anytime I hear that door opening I still think I'm gonna hear her, you know. And, then, it's-- grief's like-- it hits you. It's like a wave. You just get this profound feeling of instability. You feel like a three-legged table. Just suddenly you just-- the Earth isn't stable anymore. And then it passes and becomes more infrequent, but I still get it sometimes."

Watch the entire interview with "60 Minutes" below. 

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

Liam Neeson shares tragic loss of wife Natasha Richardson
Actor says the death of his wife at 45-years-old from a freak skiing accident still doesn't feel real.