When an 11-Year-Old Loses Her Mom: Natalie Wood

Daughter Natasha Gregson Wagner is speaking out
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2016 9:46 AM CDT
When an 11-Year-Old Loses Her Mom: Natalie Wood
Natalie Wood in 1979.   (AP Photo/Wally Fong, File)

Natasha Gregson Wagner recalls being 11 years old and sleeping over at a friend's house when the news broke: Her mom, actress Natalie Wood, had drowned off the coast of California. Gregson Wagner hasn't spoken publicly much about Wood's 1981 death, but in an interview with the New York Times, she makes clear she doesn't buy any of the conspiracy theories involving her stepdad, Robert Wagner, and the couple's actor friend Christopher Walken, both of whom were on the boat at the time. "I know that she drowned and I know it was an accident," says Gregson Wagner. To think anything beyond that is "so preposterous that I can't even relate to it.”

Gregson Wagner recalls sleeping in her mom's bed for a while after the death because the pillows still had her mother's scent. And that gets to the main reason for the interview: To honor her mom, Gregson Wagner is putting out a perfume called Natalie, one based on gardenias. It's why she always plants a gardenia bush wherever she's living. "The smell is what I remember, the comfort of the smell," she tells the Times. "I knew when she was home because I would smell her perfume. She would waft through the house." Click for the full interview, which includes this notable correction: "An earlier version of this article, relying on information supplied by Natasha Gregson Wagner, inaccurately reported Ms. Gregson Wagner's age. She is 45, not 46. She did not realize she was 45 until her husband read this article and alerted her to the mistake." (Read more Natalie Wood stories.)

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