It’s been 35 years since Natalie Wood tragically drowned while on a boat trip. The details surrounding her untimely demise have always been mysterious and the investigation into her death is still open. Although her husband Robert Wagner has spoken about his late wife in interviews and even in his autobiography, her daughters have always remained silent on the subject. But Natalie’s oldest daughter Natasha has spoken out for the first time, while promoting a perfume called Natalie that she created in honor of her mother.
Of the night that her mother left for that fatal boating trip, Natasha tells People magazine: “I remember she was getting dressed and putting [her perfume] Jungle Gardenia on,” she told the magazine. “They were getting ready to go on the boat. I was hugging her and telling her I loved her and to have a great trip. She had an angora sweater on and it was very soft. That’s my last memory of her.” She continued, “I had a funny feeling. I don’t know if it was just being a child who didn’t want her mom to leave or what it was but I didn’t want her to go.” Natasha, who was eleven, went to a sleepover at a friend’s house and heard the tragic news on the radio the following morning as she was waking up. A nanny picked her up and took her home, where the news was confirmed by her stepfather Robert Wagner.
“I didn’t know if I was having a bad a dream, if that was really happening. What I remember most is that my dad was incredibly devastated, and very tender in telling us what had happened,” she said. “It was just the unthinkable. I just remember it was the worst thing ever. My whole world just went to black and white and I couldn’t hear anything…”
These days Natasha tries to keep the memory of her mother alive. “People know her as this legend, and some people think of her as having a tragic life. But that’s not the way I remember her at all.” “She was really funny and she was fierce and she was happy,” she told People. “That’s how I remember her.” Natasha has created a new fragrance as a tribute to her mom, and one that she hopes will introduce the icon to a new generation. “I want for generations to come, to know my mom’s legacy and her work and her beauty – and what she was like as a mom.”
She also tells her 3-year old daughter Clover about ‘Grandma Natalie’. “We watched West Side Story over the summer, and she kept wanting to watch I Feel Pretty on YouTube”. When she’s older, Natasha will tell her more about the legendary star. “I will tell Clover the truth,” she says. “I believe in the truth – and that saying that the truth will set you free is so true. And I will tell her the truth who her Grandma was and the accident that happened. There is so much documented that Clover can read any of it whenever she wants to.”
Meanwhile Natasha is thankful for the bond she has with her father and stepfather: “I think my Dad and Daddy Gregson (her biological father), they were trying to pick up the pieces for us and stumble forward and find out what our life looked like after that,” says Natasha. “I was so lucky, I had two dads who were deeply committed to raising me and helping me through.” “I grew up always thinking I had two dads,” she says. “I’m certain because my mom died, my relationship with my stepdad is way deeper than it would have been had she lived, because he had to be my mom and dad.”
In turn, she saw his sadness up close. “Before my mom died, my dad was a happy go lucky person and kind of the life of the party,” she says. “After she died, when I would look at him from a distance, from my bedroom window walking into the house, there was a heaviness and a sadness to him that hadn’t been there before.”
“He’s better now,” says Natasha, “We’ve been in a lot of family therapy, my family and I, to process everything and by the grace of God, we all moved forward.”