Liam Neeson says he was shamed by a priest at confession as a teenager: ‘The last time I ever went’

Liam Neeson says he was shamed by a priest at confession as a teenager: ‘The last time I ever went’

Liam Neeson has revealed that he stopped going to confession at church when he was a teenager because of the way a priest reacted to one of his disclosures.

The Taken star was 15 years old when he told the priest at his church that he had “masturbated”, and was taken aback by the missionary’s response.

In an appearance on Conan O’Brien’s podcast, Conan O’Brien Needs A Friend, the 71-year-old actor recalled how the confession began: “So we start, and I had learned how to pleasure myself at home, into the sheets, right? I had looked up the appropriate word. I remember that. ‘Masturbate?’ ‘Masturbation?’ OK. That seems harmless enough, I’ll say that.

“[So I told him], ‘I got in an argument with my mum, my sister, and I got in a fight and I masturbated.”

Neeson remembered the priest’s “booming” voice as he reprimanded him loudly in the confessional stall.

“‘You what?!’ This guy, literally, I mean, he almost said things like, ‘The grass will grow over the palm of your hand before you’re 21! Stop that evil practice!’ He’s shouting this.”

The actor added that there were “old women just outside the confessional kneeling down and saying their prayers” and they could “hear everything”, which made him more embarrassed.

“That was the last time I ever went,” Neeson said, laughing. O’Brien responded: “I think that’ll do it.”

Last year, Neeson made a different type of confession while appearing on the Australian breakfast news show Sunrise with David Koch and Natalie Barr.

He said he fell in love with a woman who was “taken” while filming his film Blacklight in Melbourne, Australia, in 2020.

Liam Neeson attends the
Liam Neeson attends the "Marlowe" photocall during the 70th San Sebastian International Film Festival at the Kursaal Palace on September 24, 2022 (Getty Images)

“Every department was superb. They were their own people, do you know what I mean? They had a great sense of humour,” he said, adding: “I made a couple of pals, I fell in love, but she was taken.”

Neeson was previously married to actor Natasha Richardson, who died in 2009 after suffering a blow to the head when she fell at a Canadian ski resort. They married in 1994 and have two sons, Micheál and Daniel.

Prior to his marriage to Richardson, Neeson dated Dame Helen Mirren after meeting her on the 1981 film Excalibur, and lived together until 1986. Mirren later started dating her now-husband Taylor Hackford.

Reflecting on the relationship, Mirren told AARP magazine: “We loved each other. We were not meant to be together in that way, but we loved each other very, very much. I love him deeply to this day. He’s such an amazing guy.”