Michelle Williams Opens Up About The Devastating Aftermath Of Heath Ledger's Death And How Jeremy Strong Helped Raise Her Daughter

By Gina Florio··  3 min read
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Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger met on the set of "Brokeback Mountain" and soon after became a couple in 2005. They had a daughter named Matilda that same year.

The couple separated in 2007, but they continued to raise their daughter together as best as they could. Sadly, Ledger died of an accidental drug overdose in January 2008, just months after they broke up. Their daughter Matilda wasn't even 3 years old yet. Although Williams has spoken about her family's loss since Ledger's death, she recently shared some intimate details with Variety that she hadn't spoken about publicly before.

Michelle Williams Says Jeremy Strong Moved In with Her Family To Help Raise Her Daughter

Because their daughter was so young when Ledger died, Williams was in need of help in the wake of his passing. Fellow actor Jeremy Strong, who she first worked with at the 2004 Williamstown Theatre Festival, was a close friend who showed up in her time of need. Although Strong was portrayed in a New Yorker article as a pretentious, over-the-top actor who takes his commitment to method acting too far, Williams has a very different account of the kind of person Strong is.

After Ledger passed away, Strong actually moved into Williams' home along with her sister and another friend to help her care for Matilda. Because she was experiencing so much grief and shock, his help was necessary for her family to make it through that difficult time.

“Jeremy was serious enough to hold the weight of a child’s broken heart and sensitive enough to understand how to approach her through play and games and silliness,” Williams said. “[Matilda] didn’t grow up with her father, but she grew up with her Jeremy and we were changed by his ability to play as though his life depended upon it, because hers did.”

Strong spent hours and hours playing with Matilda, allowing her to ride on his back as if her were a pony. He took the job seriously, an act that Williams said was crucial to her family's healing process.

Michelle Williams Is Taking a Break from Acting Until After She Gives Birth

Williams is married to director Thomas Kail, and she's pregnant with their second child. Their son, Hart, is almost 2 years old and her daughter from her relationship with Ledger is 16 now.

“It’s totally joyous,” Williams said. “As the years go on, you sort of wonder what they might hold for you or not hold for you. It’s exciting to discover that something you want again and again is available one more time. That good fortune is not lost on me or my family.”

Before all the coronavirus shutdowns, Williams was doing several different projects, including a return to Broadway. But now she's at a point where she needs to rest until her third child is born.

“I got nothing,” she continued. “I wondered if I could work while I was pregnant, but I’m too tired.” For now, she's relaxing with her family and enjoying the last few months of pregnancy.

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