Brooke's Bombshell of the Day: How Liam Neeson Proposed (and Then Dumped Her)
11/16/2014 AT 03:00 PM EST
In her new memoir, There Was a Little Girl, Brooke Shields reveals she's been wooed by many but none quite as surprising as Liam Neeson.
Shields, 49, dated the actor in 1992 after she broke up with her Princeton boyfriend Dean Cain. She admits she was impressed by Neeson's movie-star status and writes how he "wooed me with his brogue, his poetry and his s---ty choice of cheap pinot grigio wine." They grew serious after only three months and he asked her to marry him, she notes, "without a ring."
That year, they spent a tipsy Christmas together in New York. (Her mom, Teri Shields was also there.) Later that night, Neeson told Brooke he had to fly to Los Angeles to check on his house. She asked him to call her when he arrived but he said it would be "late, darlin'." He never called.
But there's more to the story.
"He actually proposed again," says Shields with a laugh. "But it just made the book too long and it wasn't about my mother [the focus of this book]. So I'll have to do that in my memoir."
"He came back after the first time he left me and asked me to marry him again," explains the star. "This was before he started to do a play [Anna Christie]. And I said, 'No, no, no, because knowing you, you'll probably fall in love with your next leading lady and marry her, so I'm leaving myself out of this.' And I was dead right." (That leading lady was Natasha Richardson, whom he married in 1994.
Years later, Shields saw Neeson at a bar and asked him to thank Richardson for coming to see her backstage when she played Sally Bowles in Cabaret, a role that Richardson had originated.
"Just tell her I was really honored she came backstage," said Shields. "She's the original and she's amazing." Looking back, she says, "I was just trying to be very upfront about it and straightforward."
For more of Brooke's bombshells, come back to PEOPLE.com every day at 3 p.m. ET! And for much more of PEOPLE's exclusive excerpt from Brooke Shields's memoir and her revealing interview, pick up a copy of the newest issue, on newsstands now.