He just wanted to start a family with the love of his life. Instead, he had to face the fact that that wasn't going to happen for them.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on February 27, 2020. It has since been updated.
As humans, we try to live our life without regrets. Of course, it isn't possible to always do so, but nevertheless, we make the effort. And just like the rest of us, Dirty Dancing actor Patrick Swayze tried to do the same. But there was one regret he could never forget and it was his biggest one - that he could never be a father.
When Swayze met his wife, Lisa Niemi, he knew she was it for him. Meeting as teenagers in his mother's dancing class, the two hit it off after a bit of slow going. “I knew she was the smartest chick I’d ever met in my life. [Before Lisa], I had been meeting girls with names like Mimi and Angel,” Swayze said in an interview with People magazine. “And for a long time, I didn’t feel like I deserved her.” And though he liked her a lot, none of his usual charm that could make other ladies swoon, worked on her.
“If I started putting on a pose or doing my Casanova routine, Lisa would turn away and not say anything,” he said. “We had a lot of dates in silence.” But when he started opening up to her, that was when the real sparks started flying. “As soon as I opened up about what I wanted from life, she would answer me,” he said.
Before they knew it, on June 12, 1975, they took their relationship to the next level by taking their vows and tying the knot in the Swayze family’s dance studio where they first crossed paths. They were in love and soon the rest of the world could see it as clear as day as well.
As the Ghost actor rose in popularity, he never forgot who got him there. “I just felt at the time that I’m very, very lucky to have a woman who thinks I hung the moon,” he said. Swayze even admitted that his wife was the inspiration for the song he co-wrote for the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, She’s Like the Wind. They truly had an unshakeable bond, one that was undisturbed by romantic rumors or affairs.
With love like this, it wasn't hard to believe that they were soulmates. But as perfect as they might have seen, they too shared their difficult times. And from that stemmed Swayze's biggest regret. The actor desperately wanted to become a father and the couple kept trying. So in 1990, when Niemi was pregnant, they were ecstatic. But before they could enjoy this joy, tragedy struck when she miscarried.
Swayze’s long-time friend and bodyguard Frank Whiteley said, “It broke his heart. He wanted to be a dad more than anything. He had skills, knowledge, kindness and love – everything a child would want,” according to New Idea. And the actor had admitted himself that “I was born to be a dad." This caused the actor to turn to alcohol to drown his sorrows. It got so bad that in 2003, the couple separated for a year because of it. However, they needed each other and after Swayze was released from rehab, they found their way back to one another, according to Woman Magazine.
Reflecting on her marriage to the star, Niemi stated, “No relationship is perfect, you hang in there and you don’t give up. And of course you are going to have bad times. I would be with Patrick a million times over if I could — warts and all.” Then in 2007, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, a battle he finally lost in 2009 after fighting so hard. His beloved wife was right beside him throughout. After his death, Whiteley said that the 57-year-old star was finally satisfied with life despite being childless.
But while his regret might have found closure, Niemi's did not. “My regret is that I didn’t tell him that I loved him enough over that entire 34 years,” she confessed. “We told each other we loved each other over and over again,” she said in an interview with The Times, according to New Idea. “I never left the room without telling him. It still didn’t feel like enough.” However, a year after his passing, the grieving widow sent a text to his number while she was boarding a plane, reported ABC News.
"I just put what I always did: 'I love you.' And then I cried for a little bit to myself," she told People. "It [the text message] didn't come back. So either somewhere out there received it, or someone's going, 'Somebody loves me!' And you know what? I figured it was a win-win situation."
R.I.P Patrick Swayze.