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Pierce Brosnan on losing his wife and daughter to cancer and his unconventional childhood

pierce brosnan
Gemma Strong
Gemma StrongOnline Digital News Director
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Pierce Brosnan has overcome a series of personal tragedies in his life – most poignantly losing both his wife and his daughter to ovarian cancer. Now the former James Bond star has spoken candidly about both his loss and his unconventional childhood in a new interview with Esquire. "I don't look at the cup as half full, believe me," Pierce, 63, admitted. "The dark, melancholy Irish black dog sits beside me from time to time."

pierce brosnan cassandra harris© Photo: Getty Images

Pierce Brosnan lost his first wife, Cassandra Harris, to ovarian cancer

Pierce's first wife Cassandra Harris died in 1991 aged 43 after a battle with ovarian cancer. The couple had been married for 11 years. His daughter Charlotte - Cassandra's daughter from a previous relationship, who he later legally adopted - tragically died from the same disease in 2013. The actor has a son, Sean Brosnan, 33, with his late wife and also adopted her son Christopher. Following Cassandra's death, Pierce married his current wife Keely Shaye Smith, with whom he has two sons: Dylan, 20, and Paris, 16.

STORY: More heartache for Pierce Brosnan as he loses 'dearest friend' to cancer

pierce brosnan charlotte© Photo: Getty Images

The actor pictured with his daughter Charlotte in 2006

The Ghost Writer star also opened up about his challenging childhood. Pierce's father left the family shortly after he was born, and his mother went away to work in London, leaving him to live with relatives and later in a boarding-house, where he slept in a "metal bed with a curtain around it". Pierce met his father for the first time in 1984, while filming Remington Steele in his native Ireland, but said he would have liked to get to know him better. "My fatherly instincts are purely my own," he said. "They relate back to no one, because there was no one.

STORY: Pierce Brosnan publicly declares love for his wife with throwback snapshot

"I only met Tom the once. I had a Sunday afternoon with him. A story about this and that, had a few pints of Guinness and we said goodbye. I would have loved to have known him. He was a good whistler and he had a good walk… That's as much as I know about him."

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