In a a new interview, Lisa Niemi says that she never saw her husband, the late Patrick Swayze, as a sex symbol, nearly left him over his drinking problem and regrets not having his children. Neimi is still actively grieving the loss of her husband to pancreatic cancer in September at age 57.
Niemi tells the London Times that Swayze remained faithful throughout their 34-year marriage. The two fell in love as teenagers, years before Swayze became a sex symbol in 1987's Dirty Dancing and a beloved leading man in 1990's Ghost.
"Some rap singers told him how jealous they were of all the women he must have had, and he said, 'Sorry to disappoint you, that’s not my thing,'" says Niemi, 53. "He was quite a prude. I never saw him as sexy. I remember soon after we married I looked at him and was surprised how good-looking he was. He didn’t want to be recognized for something as superficial as being a sex symbol."
While Neimi says Swayze didn't sleep with other women, he had a long-term affair with drinking -- and it nearly tore his marriage apart. "He was a periodic alcoholic. It would start, then stop, then creep back in again," says Niemi. "He had a different personality when he drank that much. He was the nicest man on the planet unless he’d had a drink."
His alcoholism got so bad, Niemi says she left him in 1996 -- in the middle of the night, so that Swayze wouldn't "shoot the tires off the car." Her leaving was the wake-up call that Swayze needed, and he finally gave up the bottle for good. Twelve years later, in 2008, he was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, and Niemi -- "me, who was so scared of needles" -- became his at-home nurse until he died.
Now that Swayze is gone, Niemi's single biggest regret is not having children; their one successful conception ended in a devastating miscarriage. But she may adopt a child in the future: "Other [single people] do and I've always wanted to have children."
In the meantime, she's still in the midst of the grieving process. "I have a myriad of feelings," she says. "Some are extreme, some are a general malaise, sometimes it’s like someone has poured gasoline on me and set me on fire. I just have to have faith that one day it will turn around."
PHOTOS: Remembering Patrick Swayze
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