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Natasha Richardson: actress, New Yorker but first and foremost, a mom

tn-500_richardsonw195459 There have been conflicting reports about the extent of actress Natasha Richardson's injuries following a skiing accident in Canada yesterday. Some sources (including our sister pub TONY ) claim she's brain dead. Others say her injuries are minor. Whatever her condition, in addition to holding out hope that she'll find a way to make a full recovery, I've been struck by the sensationalized tone of the coverage (all the gossip sites are on it, even though she hasn't done a high-profile project in over a decade) and the fact that while her husband, actor Liam Neeson, is always mentioned, her kids seem to be an afterthought. While Richardson's passing might be sad for the entertainment world--particularly the New York theater scene, which still rightly reveres her for her Tony-winning performance as Sally Bowles in Cabaret --it would be devastating for her family, especially her two boys. Unlike Heath Ledger's daughter, who at age two was young enough (I hope) to be insulated from the media madness surrounded her father's death, Richardson's kids, who are 12 and 13, must be having a terrible time. Every newscast, website and blog (including now this one), seems to be obsessed with the story. But I understand the fascination. Hell, now I'm feeding into it too. Although in my case, I just can't stop thinking about her sons. It was the same when Ledger died. Although I call myself a "pop-culture parent" who loves all the sleazy gossip sites and keeps up on all the celebrity dirt, I'm a mom first. And as one, my heart goes out to Richardson's children. I can't imagine what they're going through. Update: It's now confirmed that Richardson has passed away. My heart goes out to her family. I was glad to see the dek of the People mag story refer to her as "a fierce mom." I'm sure that's how her family will always think of her first. Very sad news.
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