03/31/2013 10:55 am ET

Pierce Brosnan's First Wife Cassandra Harris Always On His Mind After Her Battle With Cancer

Pierce Brosnan admits that he's still struggling with the death of his first wife.

The actor, who's starring as a widower who falls in love with a woman battling cancer in "Love Is All You Need," reveals that the role has brought back a lot of memories concerning his wife Cassandra Harris' four-year battle with ovarian cancer 22 years ago. Harris, an actress, tragically died in 1991 at the age of 43.

Brosnan was crushed by the experience and was left to raise their then 8-year-old son Sean, now 29, by himself.

"I went through it all, very publicly," Brosnan, 59, explains to the Daily Mail. "Such things draw a mark across your heart and it’s always a part of your life. To watch someone you love have their life eaten away –- bit by bit, by this insidious and horrid disease –- becomes an indelible part of your psyche," he continues. "It certainly did for me and, of course, when I received this script, the challenge of playing this part was not lost on me."

Since Harris' death, Brosnan has remarried journalist Keely Shaye Smith, whom he met in 1994. The couple tied the knot in 2001 and have two sons together, Dylan, 16, and Paris, 12. Brosnan says that Smith has always been supportive of his relationship with Harris and has helped him cope with the pain of her death for years now.

"I know what it’s like to be a widower and what it’s like to find love again. So I know there’s hope and that you have to learn to get on with it. Ups and downs are what life is all about. But the memory of Cassie and her fight against cancer is never forgotten," Brosnan explains.

"Keely has always been kind and compassionate and encouraged me to mourn Cassie. I think of Cassie all the time –- my son Sean is also her son, of course, and he’s 29 now," he adds. "I suppose Keely is my North Star, always looking out for me."



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