Fifteen years have passed since the world lost Patrick Swayze, the multi-talented actor, dancer, and singer best known for his unforgettable roles in iconic films such as “Dirty Dancing” and “Ghost.”
As his fans continue to cherish his extraordinary talent. The spotlight now turns to his widow, Lisa Niemi Swayze, who has remained relatively silent on some of the more heartbreaking details of her late husband’s passing up until recently.
In a recent emotional and rare interview, Lisa opened up about their life, love, and hardships. Join us as we delve into the untold story of this extraordinary couple. Offering a deeper understanding of the man behind the legend and the love that endured even beyond his final curtain call.
FactsVerse Presents: Patrick Swayze’s Widow Breaks Her Silence 15 Years Later
Patrick’s Inspiring Career
Patrick Swayze was born on the 18th of August, 1952, in Houston, Texas, to Patsy Yvonne Helen, a choreographer and dance instructor. And Jesse Wayne Swayze, an engineering draftsman. Growing up in a family with artistic roots, Swayze developed an early passion for dance. Eventually training at his mother’s dance studio, the Harkness Ballet, and Joffrey Ballet schools in New York City.
After a brief stint as a professional dancer, Swayze transitioned to acting. And making his screen debut in the 1979 film, “Skatetown, U.S.A.” He continued to appear in minor roles until his breakthrough performance as dance instructor Johnny Castle in the 1987 romantic drama, “Dirty Dancing.” The film became a cultural phenomenon and cemented Swayze as a leading man in Hollywood.
In the years that followed, Swayze starred in a string of successful films. Including the 1989 action flick “Road House” and the iconic 1990 romantic fantasy “Ghost,” which earned him a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor. Swayze continued to act in both film and television projects throughout the 1990s and 2000s. Showcasing his versatility and commitment to his craft.
In addition to his successful acting career, Swayze was also an accomplished singer-songwriter. His single “She’s Like the Wind,” which he co-wrote and performed for the “Dirty Dancing” soundtrack, became a top-10 hit in multiple countries.
Throughout his career, Patrick Swayze remained dedicated to his passion for dance and often incorporated it into his roles. With his distinctive blend of charisma, talent, and determination. Swayze, no doubt, left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry, inspiring countless fans and fellow artists alike. Arguably, however, the person that he inspired the most was his beloved wife Lisa Niemi.
Patrick Swayze tragically passed away less than two years after diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. His death in 2009, at the age of 57, brought increased awareness to this often silent and deadly disease. Lisa Niemi Swayze, Patrick’s wife of more than three decades. And was with him throughout his battle and continues to feel his presence daily.
Swayze’s cancer diagnosis in 2007 came as a shock to the world. But it didn’t deter him from continuing to work in the industry. In fact, he tried his best to stay busy right up until his final months alive. According to Niemi, Swayze even shot an entire TV series while he was actively fighting cancer. And which was particularly remarkable because he was putting in up to 14 hours a day on set five days a week while receiving chemo treatments on the weekend.
In a recent interview with TODAY.com, Niemi Swayze discussed Patrick’s initial symptoms, which included yellow eyes and persistent digestive pain. She went on to recount the difficult moment when Patrick learned of his diagnosis. And how they chose to face it with realistic optimism.
Patrick’s decision to go public with his diagnosis, as we already mentioned, brought much-needed attention to pancreatic cancer and its challenges. That being said, Lisa maintains that, if given the choice, Patrick would have preferred to have kept his battle private and out of the spotlight. At the end of the day, however, he realized just how helpful it could be to others going through similar situations to see his example of resilience. And strength while enduring such a troubling ordeal.
Niemi Swayze also shared her advice for caregivers. And emphasizing the importance of self-care and seeking support from others going through equally challenging health battles. She further believes that it is crucial for couples to face the challenges together. And cherish the love they have for one another while they still are able to.
They Wanted To Be Parents
Patrick and Lisa met when they were teenagers at the Houston Ballet Dance Company. Where Niemi was taking dance lessons from Swayze’s mother. They got married when Swayze 19 and Niemi 15 on the 12th of June, 1975. And remained by each other’s side until Swayze’s death.
In the Paramount Network documentary I Am Patrick Swayze, Lisa Niemi shared that she and Patrick always wanted children but that dream derailed in 1990 when she had a miscarriage. Lisa described the emotional pain of the experience and Patrick wrote in his book, The Time of My Life, that Patrick devastated by the loss and crushed with grief.
The couple later tried to conceive again but were unfortunately unsuccessful. They eventually considered adoption, but Patrick still wanted to have biological children with Lisa.
Their continued struggles in this regard affected their marriage, and they briefly separated in 2003 but reconciled after Patrick went to rehab. In 2007, Patrick received his cancer diagnosis and, as you already know, tragically passed away two years later. Although they never had children, Lisa and Patrick had many animals on their ranch, which they treated like their own kids. Still, Patrick’s family and friends firmly believed he would have been an amazing father.
Patrick’s Last Words To Lisa
In her memoir “Worth Fighting For,” which was published in 2011, Lisa candidly wrote about the difficult experience of watching her husband pass away from cancer. She described it as the worst thing she had ever been through. But also highlighted that it was miraculous that Patrick lived for 22 months after his diagnosis.
In his finals days, Lisa shared intimate moments with Patrick, such as holding his hand, listening to music, and sleeping with her arm around him. She recounted how they both fought hard every day for his life. Lisa also revealed that their last words to each other were “I love you.”
In Patrick’s final moments, Lisa stayed by his side, not wanting to leave the room as she listened to him take small, shallow breaths. When he finally passed, it no doubt was incredibly heartbreaking for Lisa, but at least she knew that he would no longer have to suffer.
Lisa’s Continued Fight Against Pancreatic Cancer
Despite her grief, Niemi been determined to carry on her late husband’s legacy and passion for helping others. Since 2010, she has been working with the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, commonly abbreviated as PanCAN, an organization dedicated to improving outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients and their families through research, advocacy, and awareness.
In an interview with “Good Morning America” during Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in November 2022, Niemi Swayze explained that Patrick did not want to be the “poster boy” of cancer, but he simply couldn’t bear to do nothing.
Even though he passed away, Lisa picked up the torch that he once held and continued his fight. She has been a vocal advocate for more federal funding for pancreatic cancer research, which is one of the least funded among major cancer types. Additionally, she has helped raise awareness about the symptoms and risk factors of the disease. And such as persistent stomach pain that radiates to the back, which was a symptom that Patrick experienced.
In that same interview, Lisa Niemi also spoke about her personal journey of coping with the loss of her soulmate and finding new love. She feels Patrick’s presence every day and knows that his love never stopped. She believes that cancer may have taken him. But it did not defeat him, and she is determined to continue his fight in his honor.
She’s Since Remarried
Lisa Niemi Swayze married jeweler Albert DePrisco in 2014 after meeting through mutual friends. She says that Albert has been unwaveringly supportive of her work with PanCAN and thoroughly understands the bond she shared with Patrick. Niemi believes that getting remarried does not diminish the love she had for Patrick, as she still feels connected to him.
Despite his passing, Lisa says that she still feels Patrick’s presence with her everyday. She further claims to hear his voice in her head, and that he comments on what she’s doing. Whenever she needs support or guidance, she can ask him in her mind, and she hears his response, which usually encourages her to get real and keep going.
In her interview on TODAY, she shared that a wise friend once told her that love comes from the same well. Meaning that even though someone is gone, it doesn’t mean you fall out of love with them. Niemi and Albert both feel that they have a lot of love to give and are grateful to have found each other to share it with.
Obviously, Lisa Niemi continues to love her late husband very dearly. It’s inspiring to see how she has continued to fight pancreatic cancer in his memory. It’s also uplifting to learn that she has since found love once again with her current husband Albert.
We’re unfortunately just about out of time here, but before we wrap things up, we’d love to hear from you. Did you know that Patrick Swayze and his wife Lisa Niemi met when they were both teenagers and that they remained by each other’s side for more than three decades? And did you know that despite the fact that they both wanted kids. They were never able to fulfill this dream? Let us know in the comments, and as always, thanks for watching!