Pierce Brosnan is well-acquainted with grief and loss. After all, he lost the very first woman he loved to the core to cancer and then he lost their daughter to the same disease that took her mother.
When you finally find "the one," it's hard not to get excited about a future with them. Getting married, having kids, growing old together - all of it just builds in your soul like a rising crescendo. So when they pass away, it can nearly break you. For Pierce Brosnan, having to deal with the pain of his first wife's death was heartbreaking.
Pierce Brosnan first locked eyes with Cassandra Harris when a mutual friend introduced them during the filming of a play. He had ridden a bicycle to his friend’s house with his pants bunched at the ankles with bike clips and his hair slicked back for his role. “I looked absolutely ridiculous,” he recalled with Cassie in a 1983 People interview. “But I was totally bowled over by this beauty.”
Cassandra added to that and said, "Here was this funny-looking man with this short haircut. But we had much in common... and once we started talking, we never stopped." It was that connection that brought them to their next milestone - marriage. However, life had different plans for them and they only got to be together for a short 14 years. Their marriage was always happy, but then Cassandra got diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Soon, checkups and treatments became a normal part of their routines.
During her battle, Pierce remembered spending every moment that he could right beside her. While laying on her hospital bed together, he mentioned that he "was in a helpless state of…confusion and anger. She was comforting me." Cassandra, even at the worst of her health, knew that she had to find a way for him to stay strong as she left him behind.
"She said, ‘Please, darling, don’t worry. It’s just a life winding down.’ What can you do?” he said. “Up until then there was always something, some new treatment. But then the options got fewer and fewer. At the end, Cassie didn’t want to be resuscitated [by] any machines.”
The night she passed on will never leave his mind. It was around Christmas and their 14th wedding anniversary. “That was one of the longest nights of my life ever,” he said and the next morning, she took her last breath.
Their time together may have tragically lasted only a short while, Pierce will never forget what his Cassie did for him as soon as she entered his life. We know him as the actor, but when he talks about his late wife, it's the loving husband that comes to the forefront. “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’s there with me every day. I was so blessed to have met someone like that,” he told People in 1992.
To him, it felt as if she were always helping him shift the important pieces of his life around. And this had an astounding impact on his career and parenthood. Soon after her death, Pierce received a call from his agent who told him that his film, The Lawnmower Man, was a box office hit. He recalled going out to his garden to the spot where she used to sit, hoping that she'd be listening to this great news. “Cassie used to sit in that chair over there, under these trees, so I just went there and I talked,” Pierce Brosnan said. “I told her, ‘Well, darling, I know you’re up there moving the pieces around.'"
Heartbroken after her passing, the actor thought he would never find love again. But once again, life gave him another twist and he found Keely Smith. “I know what it is like to be a widower and what it is like to find love again. So I know there’s hope and that you have to learn to get on with it..." he said, according to Mirror UK. "But the memory of Cassie and her fight against cancer is never forgotten.”
Sadly though, he had to watch another loved one lose the battle against the cancer that took his first wife from him. Charlotte, Cassandra's daughter from her previous relationship, had been legally adopted by Pierce. But his time with her was short too as he lost her to ovarian cancer as well, according to The Bond Bulletin. Just because he lost one love to cancer didn't mean it became easier to watch another loved one break in the same battle.
“Charlotte fought her cancer with grace and humanity, courage and dignity. Our hearts are heavy with the loss of our beautiful dear girl. We pray for her and that the cure for this wretched disease will be close at hand soon,” he said in a People article.
He may not be a stranger to grief but he understands how lucky he is. He got a second chance at love. However, he will never forget what he had with Cassandra Harris, his first love.