This January marks the ninth anniversary of Heath Ledger’s death. The actor shared a daughter, Matilda, with his former partner Michelle Williams – and while Williams and Ledger had separated by the time he passed away, she has long been open about her grief at losing the father of her child.
In a new interview, Williams has spoken frankly about her distress at moving out of the house she once shared with Ledger. The star of Manchester by the Sea, now 36, bought the six-bedroom Brooklyn townhouse with her then-boyfriend in 2005. She eventually sold the property in 2014 after moving to Los Angeles to pursue more acting roles.
“At that time, I was inconsolable, because I felt, ‘How will he be able to find us?’” Williams told WSJ.
“This is where we lived, and he won’t know where we are. And now I can’t believe I thought that.”
She added: “Maybe that’s what’s making me cry, is I feel sad for the person who thought he won’t be able to locate [us].”
Williams and Ledger were together for three years before separating amicably in September 2007, less than six months before he died due to an “accidental mixture of prescription drugs”. Matilda was a little over two years old at the time.
She told WSJ that her experience of being a single mother had made her more realistic about relationships.
“It’s hard to romanticise romance when you’re 36,” she said. “When you’ve been a parent for 11 years and you’ve done it alone, you don’t have romantic ideals, because you have a practical understanding that you can do it by yourself.
“The romantic idea of meeting your person and having a storybook family life that looks like the model you grew up with – that doesn’t really exist for me.”
In early January, Williams said that she considered her true soulmate to be her best friend, Busy Phillips.
“I’m here with my best friend,” Williams told reporters at a New York screening of Manchester by the Sea, to which she had invited Phillips as her date. “I’m so in love with her.”
Williams and Phillips met back in 2000 when they starred alongside each other in Dawson’s Creek, and Phillips is godmother to Matilda Ledger. Williams also brought Phillips to the 2017 Golden Globes, where she had received her fourth nomination for her role as grieving mother Randi in Manchester by the Sea.
“She’s proof that the love of your life does not have to be a man!” said Williams. “That’s the love of my life right there.”
Images: Rex Features