Liam Neeson talks about losing wife Natasha Richardson

"[Her death] was never real. It still kind of isn't," he said in a "60 Minutes" interview to be broadcast Sunday. "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 recalled arriving at the Canadian hospital, where doctors told him that the 45-year-old Richardson was brain dead after hitting her head during a fall on the slopes.

"She was on life support," he told "60 Minutes." "I went in to her and I told her I loved her, said, 'Sweetie, you're not coming back from this, you've banged your head.'"

Neeson, 61, said he knew his wife and the mother of their two children would not recover.

"She and I had made a pact, if any of us got into a vegetative state that we'd pull the plug," he said. "That was my immediate thought … 'O.K., these tubes have to go. She's gone.'"

But he kept her alive long enough to bring her back to New York so that friends and family could say goodbye. Richardson died March 18, 2009.

And because of his wife, Neeson said, three people are alive today.

Read more at ABCNews.com.

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