Michelle Williams on raising her daughter without Heath Ledger: “It just won’t ever be right”

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Kayleigh Dray
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Michelle Williams has already been tipped for success at the Oscars, thanks to her outstanding performance in Manchester by the Sea.

In the film, the 36 year old plays a heartbroken mother, Randi, who is desperately trying to deal with the tragedy that has rocked her family, and begin a new life.

“I couldn’t stop crying,” the 36-year-old actress told Porter magazine about connecting to the emotional storyline. “It’s like the darkest part of your heart, something happening to your child... [Randi]’s making a brave choice, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. Because it is a choice.”

The actor added: “I would exit. It would be so much easier than living with the loss.”

In the real world, grief affects us all – and Williams is no exception.

On 22 January 2008, her former partner and close friend, Heath Ledger, passed away from an accidental overdose; since then, Williams has raised their daughter, Matilda (now 11), by herself.

When asked about how she feels about her daughter growing up without a father, Williams was very forthcoming.

“In all honesty, for pretty much everything else, I feel like I'm a believer in not fighting circumstances, accepting where you are and where you've been,” she said.

“In pretty much all senses but one, I would be able to go totally down that line of thinking were it not for Matilda not having her dad. You know, that's just something that doesn't…I mean, it just won't ever be right.”

Williams also touched upon the difficulties of dating as a single mother, explaining that she has found it “really sensitive” and something of a “learning process”.

“I certainly did not expect to still be dating at 36 with an 11-year-old,” she said. “This is not what I imagined.”

She added that, while she would consider getting married in the future, she is fiercely independent – and, as such, will not be rushing into anything just for the sake of it. “Just because I might have a desire to be with someone… that won’t lead me to marry the wrong person.”

Williams previously said she keeps life ''as normal as possible'' for her daughter – and she does this by ensuring that Matilda has regular and close contact with Ledger’s family.

Her efforts have not gone unnoticed; speaking to The Sunday Telegraph last year, the 'Dark Knight' star's sister, Kate, piled praise upon Williams for being such a wonderful mother to her niece.

She said: “'[Matilda is an] expressive, creative, beautiful girl who is fortunate enough to have great grounding from her mum.

“Michelle really does keep things real for her, and her existence, although different from most, is as normal as possible in an abnormal world.”


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.