Joely Richardson stood in front of a display of flowers - Credit: Getty

Joely Richardson on living with loss: “I was in absolute shock for the first year”

With three new TV projects on the way, Saga Magazine caught up with actor Joely Richardson on the effect of losing her sister, Natasha, and how she’s embracing life as she comes in the last year of her 50s.

Actor Joely Richardson, known for her diverse acting career that has taken her from Lady Chatterley’s lover to current Netflix hit One Day, spoke to Saga Magazine about the profound impact of her sister Natasha Richardson’s death.

Natasha, who passed away at the young age of 45 after a skiing accident, was Richardson’s elder sister, and the actress reveals the long and arduous journey she’s taken to process her grief.

“I was in absolute shock for the first year,” she said. “It took me about five years to get to the other side of the loss and then for life to rearrange itself. Suddenly I was the eldest.”


On re-evaluating her life after loss

Reflecting on the universal impact of loss, Richardson acknowledges, “There isn’t one family that hasn’t experienced that ‘space’ when someone goes and the struggle to realign yourself.”

Her death not only meant re-evaluating her position in her family, but also her attitude towards life as a whole.

“I do think it’s important that we truly live life,” she said. “With gratitude and appreciation. Living can mean being present for loved ones or doing a great job at work. It doesn’t always mean climbing Mount Everest.”

One of those choices she made was to do more theatre off Broadway so she could be near her nephews, although this past year has seen her get stuck into three major TV projects – Renegade Nell,  One Day and Guy Ritchie’s new show,  The Gentlemen.

She said: “We had a lot of fun with it, especially as Guy’s way of working meant scenes came together on the day and you never knew what to expect!”

As she approaches 60, Richardson exudes a newfound strength and optimism and is keen to embrace age

“Old age is challenging, but it’s an incredible privilege to have seen so many decades pass,” she said.  “We need to respect our elders.”

And one of those she has the utmost respect for is her mother, Vanessa Redgrave, who at the age of 85 appeared on the West End stage in My Fair Lady.

“My mum is made of incredibly strong stuff – the most phenomenally strong material,” she declared. “I’m not sure that will be me. She’s something else!”

See Joley Richardson in The Gentlemen on Netflix from 7 March

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Written by Pam Francis