In Style: 1993: Pierce Brosnan
In Style:  In His Element 

Actor Pierce Brosnan paints, gardens, plays pool and relaxes with his three children at Redtails, his home in Malibu

December 1993

By: Kristena Johnson
Photos: E.J. camp


It's been a vexing morning at the Brosnan househol in Malibu.  The coffee machine overflowed, and one of the family's five large dogs acquired a pungent odor somewhere on his morning run and desperately needs a bath.  But now, Pierce Brosnan has retreated to the breezy poolside patio.  The view from the shady palm tree-lined backyard is soothing: Rolling hills give way to the Pacific, visible just now as the noontime sun burns off the last bit of morning haze.  Brosnan's 10 year old son, Sean, is nowhere in sight but his neon-green Super Soaker lies atop a garden hedge and his abndoned boogie board floats in the pool's still blue water.  Dressed casually in a white cotton shirt, khakis and a pair of Birkenstick sandals, his dark hair brushed back and still wet from the shower, Brosnan sips, at last, a up of coffee on the recent turns his life has taken.

Brosnan's safe port has been his home and his family:  Charlotte, 21, who is studying acting at London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Christopher, 20, a film student at New York University (both from Cassie's first marriage), and Sean, a fifth-grader at a Santa Monica school. Though the older kids may come and go, Brosnan revels in the low-key life at Redtails (named for the redtail hawks that inhabit the area), the six-acre property that Cassie picked out in 1985.  "One of my wife's great joys was to get in the car and go looking for houses," recalls Brosnan, smiling. 

Brosnan began painting four years ago when his wife Cassie became, became ill, setting up his studio next to the master bedroom "just so I could put down a lot of angst and anger and what came out was color. Now it's great therapy, and something I really enjoy doing."

The gate that now frames the Redtails entrance was added last year. Brosnan built it himself. What started out simply as "two wooden posts and a wood top... suddenly became like a ride at Disneyland!" laughs Brosnan, who added Mexican brick, river rock and a turnaround area to his original design. A quarter mile up from the gate, the four- bedroom, Spanish-style villa is covered with lush ivy and magenta bougainvillea blossoms. Inside, family photos decorate the soft yellow and cream-colored walls. The sunny, casual feeling continues in the earthy wood and green tiled kitchen, where an upright piano stands against one wall. Last year, Brosnan put a pool table where the dining area used to be so the kids could entertain their friends. And in Sean's bedroom, painted Ninja Turtle figures attest to a recent father-and-son art project.

Brosnan's boyhood boxing gloves (the only childhood artifact he has in the house) and a slingshot he  made for Sean during a  trip to Greece hang from the mirror fram in the green-tiled master bath.

Brosnan tries to spend as much free time as he can with his young son. "You feel very vulnerable and it can be quite frightening, looking after a family," says Brosnan. "But I keep in constant communication with all the children. I tell them exactly where I'm going, what I'm doing, how things are looking on the career front." When the kids are at home, the family likes to barbecue with friends and spend long, lazy afternoons on the beach. "They're very loving children," says Brosnan softly. "They've been my greatest support and greatest allies."

Housekeeping and gardening are tended to by staff who has been with the family for nine years, but Brosnan likes to shop for groceries himself, help maintain the garden, and handle chores like repairing the ripped screen doors. (The dogs—four mixed breeds and a rottweiler—"like to barrel through them," he says.) He drops Sean off at school each morning and then runs six miles ("on a good day"), and spends a half an hour doing yoga and meditating before heading to the set or business meetings.

He's also started dating again, but only halfheartedly. "It's part of the new life," he says with a shrug. While he's been linked with Barbara Orbison, Roy's widow, and supermodel Tatjana Patitz, Brosnan insists, "I have no intention of getting married for quite some time. No, no, no. This is a time to find out exactly who I am and what I'm about." "Life has changed in a big way and obviously so," he says. "I wouldn't expect it to be any other way. I've changed a lot in the last two years. I don't know how to define that because I'm still coming to terms with my life as an actor and a single parent. There's been pain, but from pain comes an incredible sense of life, of hope and faith, and the sense that you've endured and gone on, just by being right now in the moment, being here."

"Family is important," says Brosnan, in the pool with sons Sean (left) and Christopher. "That's what you strive for because at the end of the day  what else do you have?" 
 

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