Micheál, 23, has changed his last name from Neeson to Richardson, PEOPLE confirms.
The Parent Trap actress died at age 45 in 2009 of blunt force trauma after she fell while she was skiing at Mont Tremblant in Quebec. Neeson and Richardson’s sons Micheál and Daniel were 13 and 12, respectively, when she died.
Richardson’s actress mother Vanessa Redgrave, 81, reportedly said of the name change, according to the Daily Mail, “That wasn’t because he wanted to avoid his father’s fame, which is enormous. He wanted to hold his mother close to him — because she was a remarkable actress. Absolutely remarkable.”
In 2015, Micheál got candid about the difficult years that followed his mother’s death.
“In my mind, subconsciously, I either pushed it out or stored it deep inside,” he told The Sunday Times. “And so, within the next week I was like, ‘Okay, on with my life.'”
Micheál said her death eventually caught up to him, explaining, “Things just started going downhill. The people I was with, we were partying a lot. It was dark. I hit rock bottom.”
“Everybody said, ‘This kid has lost his mum, that’s where the problem comes from.’ And I was like, ‘No, it isn’t, I just like to party.’ But looking back I realize it was a delayed reaction,” Micheál continued to the outlet.
After the fall, Richardson initially declined ambulances, but she was taken to a hospital in Montreal when her health declined. Neeson, who had been filming a project in Toronto, joined her at the hospital.
“I was told she was brain dead. And seeing this X-ray it was, like, ‘Wow,'” Neeson told Anderson Cooper on 60 Minutes in 2014. “But obviously she was on life support and stuff. And I went in to her and told her I loved her. Said, ‘Sweetie, you’re not coming back from this. You’ve banged your head. It’s — I don’t know if you can hear me, but that’s — this is what’s gone down. And we’re bringing ya back to New York. All your family and friends will come.’ And that was more or less it.”
After Richardson died in New York, Neeson turned to his career.
“I’m not good without work,” he said on 60 Minutes. “I just don’t — I just don’t wallow too much. You know? And I just didn’t want to – especially for my boys — seem to be wallowing in sadness or depression.”