LIAM Neeson turned down the opportunity to play James Bond because he wanted his late wife Natasha Richardson to marry him.
The 61-year-old actor claims he was "heavily courted" for the 007 role 19 years ago, but he refused the opportunity to play Bond because his then-girlfriend said she would not marry him if he accepted the role.
"I was heavily courted, let's put it that way, and I'm sure some other actors were too,” Neeson said.
"It was about 18 or 19 years ago and my wife-to-be said, 'If you play James Bond we're not getting married!' And I had to take that on board, because I did want to marry her."
The couple tied the knot in 1994 and had sons Micheál, 18, and Daniel, 17, before Natasha tragically died following a skiing accident in Montreal, Canada, in March 2009.
The Taken actor recently opened up about his grief after losing his wife.
"It hits you. It’s like a wave. You just get this profound feeling of instability," he said in an emotional interview with Anderson Cooper. “The Earth isn’t stable anymore and then it passes and it becomes more infrequent, but I still get it sometimes.
"(Her death) was never real, it still kind of isn't. There’s periods now in our New York residence when I hear the door opening, especially the first couple of years. Anytime I hear that door opening, I still think I’m going to hear her."
Neeson is renowned for his work in action movies and his latest film Non-Stop is currently top of the US box office.
But the Oscar-nominated star insists that he has never regretted turning down any film roles.