“It’s the worst thing in the world to go through,” Niemi said of Swayze’s cancer fight. “You spend every day fighting for that person’s life. I know that he spent every day fighting for his own … He survived 22 months, which was miraculous with the diagnosis that he received.”
She describes how the two met as teenagers when Niemi was taking dance lessons from Swayze’s mother. They married in 1975 and remained together until he died.
“The first time Buddy (her nickname for Swayze) and I danced together was at a school exhibition,” Niemi said. “We walked out on stage. I looked in his eyes, it was like everything came alive.”
Neimi also takes a look at Swayze’s struggles with alcohol and their separation for a time before he was diagnosed with cancer.
She says she still talks to him “every day.”
“When you lose someone, you never stop loving them and it’s — I feel like I have a different relationship with him now,” she says. “It’s just, he’s not physically present, you know what I mean?”
The documentary debuts at 9 p.m. ET/PT on August 18 on the Paramount Network. The day would have been the actor’s 67th birthday.