Actor Pierce Brosnan has been married to his wife, Keely Shaye Smith, for 16 years, but they looked like newlyweds at the recent Concert on the Bluffs in Malibu, CA, hugging and kissing, holding hands, and telling each other, “I love you.” Pierce exclusively told Closer Weekly, “You have to trust and follow your heart.” He adds, “And try to meet the best people in life.” Clearly, Pierce feels like Keely is one of those people. “When Keely looks at me, I go weak,” he says. “I love her vitality, her passion. She has this strength that I wouldn’t be able to live without.”

Ex-journalist Keely, 54, helped Pierce, 64, heal his heart after his first wife, Cassandra Harris, died in his arms of ovarian cancer in 1991. Tragically, Cassandra and Pierce’s daughter, Charlotte Brosnan, succumbed to the same disease at 41in 2013. “I don’t look at the cup as half-full, believe me,” says Pierce. “The dark, melancholy Irish black dog sits beside me from time to time.” But Keely is always by his side. “She has been a supportive and wonderful addition to his life,” an insider tells Closer. “Keely is understanding of his past, is not threatened and is just a truly loving presence.”

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Getty Images

Pierce and his wife Keely. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In addition to Charlotte and his sons with Cassandra (Christopher Brosnan, 45, and Sean Brosnan, 34), Pierce has two boys — Dylan Brosnan, 21, and Paris Brosnan, 16 — with Keely. “My fatherly instincts are purely my own,” says Pierce, who only met his absentee biological father once, in 1984 when the star-making TV series Remington Steele was filming an episode in Ireland. “I had a Sunday afternoon with him — a story about this and that, a few pints of Guinness, and we said goodbye. I would have loved to have known him.”

Pierce has been a very different kind of father. “His kids are everything to him,” the insider says. “Being a father is a huge responsibility,” he adds. “But it’s a satisfying one.” He’s also a doting grandfather of three, including Charlotte’s children, Isabella Smith, 19, and Lucas Smith, 12. “They keep Charlotte alive for him,” says the insider. “They both have Charlotte’s kindness and wicked sense of humor.”

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Pierce with Cassandra, Charlotte, and Christopher in 1985. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Work brings Pierce joy, as well. “I always wanted to do a Western,” he says, and his AMC cowboy drama, The Son, has been renewed for a second season. He’s also finished shooting Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (due July 20), a sequel to his 2008 hit musical with Meryl Streep. “I’d been asked over the 10 years since the first one, but it was a surprise when they said, ‘OK, let’s do it,’” Pierce tells Closer. “There’s actually more meat on the bones of this one.” There are also new co-stars, including Cher, his neighbor in Malibu. “Pierce adores Cher,” the insider says. “He had a hoot.”

But Pierce is the happiest when he’s home with Keely. “I’ve been a married man most of my life — that’s the way I like it,” he says. “I’m one of those guys who believes you need a strong woman in your life.” Keely certainly fits that bill. “I found a great woman in Keely,” Pierce says. “Not if I searched a million times over would I find one as good.” The feeling is mutual. “Pierce is intelligent, captivating and his real beauty emanates from the soul,” Keely says. “And, like a fine wine, he’s aging beautifully.”

As he’s weathered losses over the years, Pierce has attained hard won wisdom. “There are so many lessons you learn each day and each passing year,” he tells Closer. “It’s important to have good faith in yourself and to know yourself as much as you can, and then to go out there and do good things.”

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