Many Patrick Swayze fans will learn a lot more of the late actor now that a documentary titled, I Am Patrick Swayze, is set to air on Sunday, August 18 on the Paramount Network — including details about his marriage to his longtime love, Lisa Niemi.
The pair tied the knot in 1975, this after meeting when they were both teenagers. “The first time I met Patrick I was involved in the children’s music group in Houston, Texas and they had joined forces with his mom’s dance school and company,” the 63-year-old reveals in the new doc. “I walked by the door, and looked in at the dance classes and she said ‘come on in!’ I said well I don’t really have the money to pay, and she goes ‘That doesn’t matter!’ And actually for a full year she taught me free of charge.”
“He had a reputation of being this Casanova, this egotistical guy and I was like so quiet you could almost make up anything about me,” Lisa continues. “There was definitely a spark, and something was happening and the first time [Patrick] Buddy and I danced together was at a school exhibition. We walked out on stage, you kind of do your classic intro, where you kind of gesture to each other, and it was almost like the whole stage filled with light. Even though it’s just like school auditorium lights. But it was almost like we were lit.”
“And the moment I looked in his eyes, it was like, everything came alive. (cries) and … so and it was just a kind of magic that happened,” she adds. “Part of it was the act of performing, people who are performers know the wonderful magic that happens when the lights come up on you onstage, but so much of it was what we saw in each other. There was something about him when I looked at him, what I saw was pure gold. And I think probably he looked at me and he saw something else than what other people were seeing also.”
This would kick off quite the beautiful relationship between the two, as the pair would go on to have a lovely partnership, even working together, as Lisa was also a writer, dancer, director and actress. “When I went to NY to dance, I went on scholarship and I was absolutely thrilled. I was living the dream,” Lisa says. “Buddy had been in NY for a couple years so he goes, ‘move in with me,’ we were all going to be bunking in this one bedroom apartment, they were all dancers. The moment I moved in two people left, like two days later, and all of a sudden I’m here with Buddy, alone! And I knew there was this thing happening between us, but I was there to dance, I wasn’t there to have a romantic relationship.”
“We had been living together for about a year, and we were in a tickling fight on our loofa couch, and when he stopped he said ‘let’s do it.’ Do what? He said ‘let’s get married,'” Lisa recalls. “I was just absolutely in terror but Patrick was pretty good at getting his way about things, he could chime a bird out of a tree, he certainly never gives up. And we ended up getting married a month later. It was a big risk, because we were both so young — we had some bumps along the way but we were definitely stronger together. That became very clear very quickly.”
From a one bedroom apartment, to a massive property — that’s exactly what the happy couple did as the years went on. “Both of us were Texans so it was always our dream to have a ranch,” the Once Last Dance star says. “It was just a dry piece of dirt, some rusted auto parts, tumble weeds actually blowing through. As he did more movies and we made more money, we turned it into our private little paradise. We were able to have our horses there. He was proud that we were more real and that we didn’t live in Beverly Hills. He said we chose to live on a ranch rather than with monkeys in a cage!”
Patrick and Lisa remained married until Patrick passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2009. Five years later, Lisa remarried to jeweler Albert DePrisco.