Natascha McElhone Rises Up For Her Children

09/14/2008 at 03:00 PM ET
Danny Martindale/

In a matter of weeks Natascha McElhone will welcome her third child, but she’ll sadly do so without husband Martin Kelly. In a new interview with the Times Online, the 36-year-old actress speaks at length about the heart attack which claimed Martin’s life in May, and how their sons Theo, 8, and Otis, 5, have helped her not only to cope, but also to move on after such a tragic loss. Likening her boys to "little Duracell batteries" that charge her up for the day, Natascha says she has never "been able to go off into a corner and be self-indulgent" because the boys won’t allow it. "There’s no ‘Shall I crumble or shall I rise, phoenix-like, from all this and take on the world?’ — clearly, I can only do the latter," she says. In any event, Natascha still feels her husband’s presence everywhere.

"I’ve never been one to believe in spirits, but I feel we’re all suffused with him in different ways and that will live on, in me, in the kids, in this new little one that’s just coming along. The amazing thing is how you can keep going if you have to."

The last time she heard from Martin, a plastic surgeon, was a voicemail left just 13 minutes before he died suddenly — and unexpectedly — in their West London home at the age of 42. Natascha and the boys were in Los Angeles, where she was shooting the Showtime series Californication; the couple were planning to meet up the following week in celebration of their 10th wedding anniversary and to undergo the 20-week ultrasound for their third child. "He left me this message, full of the joys…he couldn’t wait to come out, he was so excited about the scan, so excited about the baby," she recalls. "Thank God, a lovely last message." When a family friend called several hours later to deliver the news of Martin’s passing, Natascha was on set while the boys were playing at a gym across the street. "I did that thing I thought people only did in movies — I dropped the phone and my knees sort of buckled under me," she recalls. "I knew I was going to have to tell the kids."

"I thought of trying to suspend time or wait and not tell them for a day but I couldn’t bear the idea of other people knowing and them not. I remember looking out of the window and seeing them chasing after each other with huge squeals of delight and thinking, ‘I’m about to shatter their world.’ They came in and they were like little boys are, full of energy and excitement, and I told them what had happened. And then the clouds descended…it was awful."

Click ‘more’ to read about how Natascha is helping her children remember their father.

Natascha made leather-bound memory boxes for all three children, filling them with Martin’s favorite music and letters written by his friends, so that Theo, Otis and baby-on-the-way will someday have a more complete idea of who their father was. With that said, the family is focused firmly on the future. Although Natascha admits she initially had an "irrational fear" that moving on meant "leaving [Martin] behind" — as a parent, she says, "that’s obviously what you must do."

"I have grabbed life by the throat and I am packing in as much as I can and trying to keep things fun for the boys, actually. They seem to be responding in a very positive way. From what I can tell, and it is so hard with kids to know, I don’t think they feel that a door’s closed. I think they still feel there are many doors to be opened and I want to keep that alive."

Natascha and Martin’s baby-on-the-way, a delivery surprise, is due in one month.

Source: Times Online 

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Nancy on

So difficult to imagine the heartbreak and loss, yet something I think many of us fear may happen in our own lives. I would only hope that I could be as strong and courageous as Natascha has been for her boys. I wish her pure peace and joy as she meets this new little member of her family.



jashmom on

I loved her in the Truman Show. What a very strong woman!!! Reading about the message her husband left her made me cry. I wish her and her children all the best and brightest of futures!!!

pia on

wow… how awful for her.. indescribably tragic. what a powerful woman.
sending her a lot of love right now.

babyboopie on

awwww, I am crying right now cos it is so sad that she’s lost her husband and is raising two little boys and another one on the way on her own! But I admire her bravery and will to keep going in this world. Wish her all the best with her little baby!

Mrs.R. on

What an amazing mom and an amazing woman. It’s incredible that she can be so eloquent about something that happened so recently, and that has turned her world tragically upside down. her boys are lucky to have her as a mom though – it sounds like her feet are firmly on the ground.

mslewis on

Exactly how do you tell a 5 year old and an 8 year old that their father is gone? And how do you really know how they are doing? It’s so awful. I really wish her the best.

Gigi on

i am totally crying reading this…..i cant imagine!
may God bless her and those babies.

SY on

Wow, she is a ROCK…wishing her and the kids much happiness to come.

Devon on

My heart goes out to Natascha and her family. The same thing happened to my mum’s best friend’s brother & sister-in-law. He died in a car crash leaving behind a son, a daughter and a wife who was 8 months pregnant. I cannot imagine her strength in going on and focusing on her kids while losing the love of her life. So sad.

Sia on

My cousin Sarah’s husband was killed by a run away caravan (as strange as it sounds) just 3 days before she gave birth to her third son, she couldnt deal with it and gave the baby to her sister to look after for a while, its four years later and she hasnt taken him back even though she has had annother 2 children (boys number 5 and 6) but when ever she looks at number three she feels that she can’t cope with the pain. I feel awful for both the boy and my cousin because she feels incredibly guilty for this feeling. Anyway what I’m trying to say is that it seems that Natascha is coping AMAZINGLY well and has a great attitude. Those boys and baby are lucky to have such a well adjusted mother

SJ on

There are certain actresses in the industry, who crave publicity and will exploit their lives to magazines just to get it, they are not fit to lick this woman’s boots.

She’s going through total hell right now and keeping herself to herself, keeping herself strong for her children and unborn baby.

Natasha, you are an inspiration. Much love.

gforce on

My sister lost her husband to a scuba diving accident. He left behind 3 children- 10,14 &16. Unfortunately, his 10 yr old son Connor was with him in the boat. Connor saw the coast guards rescue his dad’s body from the Gulf Of Mexico. My poor nephew witnessed his father’s tragic death and feared to tell his mother that he was dead. My nephew has been very strong & is getting counseling from Hospice! Hospice is doing a great job with the whole family in their grieving process. Children surprise us! They are small but in the time of need they are powerful!

eva on

She seems at peace and hopeful despite her loss. I’m sure her 3 children will give her inspiration and strength in the years to come.

I lost my husband to bone cancer 5 years ago,our daughter was only 4 years old.He wrote beautiful letters for her to have on every milestone she reaches, her first day of school, her first job, her first date, and I keep them in our special memory box. Sometimes we read the ones that have been opened over and over again. After many years he still has the power to make me laugh and cry.

fuzibuni on

i already had tears in my eyes after reading this post, and then the comments made me actually cry.
makes me feel really grateful for everyone in my life.

Mirabai on

Eva – my partner and I did a similar thing in his last few months. He described the writing process as cathartic. For me, it was difficult and unfair to see him write in anticipation of events that he would not be a physical part of. Now, as those events approach and pass and the words are read, his love is present in a tangible way.

eva on

Mirabai- I know what you mean.Without the letters I would still be able to convey an idea for my daughter about how much her father loved her and narrate anecdotes about him, but to have his own words addressing her directly is priceless.When she was younger she used to say her daddy wanted to talk to her everytime a new envelope was opened.
Best luck to you and your family.

CelebBabyLover on

My heart goes out to Natascha (no pun intended) and her two precious little boys (and the little one on the way!)! My father suffered a heart attack just a few months before Martin did. Thankfully he survived and is doing remarkably well (he’s one of the few extremely lucky heart attack survivors to be left with absolutly no residul heart damage)….But it very well could have turned out much worse.

Had he not gone to the ER when he did, there’s a chance he may not have survived. I can only imagine how devestated I would have been if my dad hadn’t made it.

I feel awful for Natascha and her kids that Martin wasn’t as fortunate as my dad. The boys (not to mention Natascha) must be devestated by the loss of their father. No one should have to lose a parent or a spouse at such a young age (obviously Natascha’s much older than the boys, but let’s face it, 36 is still awfully young to be a widow!)!

I hope that the baby helps bring at least some happiness back to his/her mother and brothers. I wonder if Natashca will name the baby after Martin if it’s a boy?

Kay on

God bless them and give them the fortitude to carry on. In such difficult circumstances, she has kept strong. I wish her best in future.

kirstin on

Oh this makes me sad and feel so much for her. I love her in Californication…loved her also in Laurel Canyon and many more. Brilliant. She is so beautiful inside and out. I am so sorry deep down that she has had to endure such pain…I am sure it is immeasurable and to have those children and the baby on the way. I say a higher power for her well being and let her heart mend. She is so strong! Wish I could give her a big hug!

Dana on

My heart breaks for her every time I think about what she is going through. I cannot imagine how she is coping without her mate there.

I completely empathize with her on not being able to break down. In the last month, I have lost my grandmother and suffered a miscarriage. I try to keep it together around my girls. Whenever I feel that I am about to break, they come running into the room and I pull it together so they don’t get upset. Funny how that works, almost as if they know they are needed at that moment.

JK on

Heartbreaking. I’m sending prayers to Natascha and her boys. I believe Martin is with her and the kids and will be there when their baby enters the world. I’m praying that they find some comfort as they begin this new part of their lives.

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