Michelle Williams On Love, Loss & Motherhood

A year and a half after the death of Heath Ledger, actress Michelle Williams opens up about love and loss in the October issue of Vogue magazine.

While Michelle says she is still grieving the loss of her former love, she finds comfort in their beautiful daughter Matilda Rose, 3 1/2.

“I just don’t see the upside to this,” the Oscar-nominated actress says. “You console yourself by saying it’s all a deepening process. But it’s weird. After the first year, the pain is less intense; it’s less immediate. But the magical thinking goes away, too. And that’s a whole new reckoning. But every time I really miss [Heath] and wonder where he’s gone, I just look at her.”

Michelle and Heath met and fell in love on the set of the 2005 film Brokeback Mountain. Looking back, she says it was “a charmed time” when everything seemed just as it should be.

Brokeback Mountain was an unrepeatable moment in time, a very charmed time in my life. I was in love; I was in a movie I was proud to be a part of, and with a beautiful brand-new baby. Everything was good in that moment.”

Unfortunately the moment didn’t last forever, and the pair split by the time Matilda was 2. Michelle reveals her answer to the heartache was to get out of town, packing up Matilda and heading to Sweden to work.

“I just didn’t want to be at home. Geography is a great solution for heartbreak,” she says.

After Heath’s tragic death in January 2008, the Wendy and Lucy star admits that there were times when asked herself, “How am I going to get through the day?”

She tells Vogue she would “cry, nap, sit and stare, try to figure out what to make [Matilda] for dinner, talk to friends on the phone. I was holding it together by a string and a paper clip in the fall and winter. I didn’t know if I could keep it all together.”

She credits her friends with helping her get through those early days.

“Friends never really left me alone when we came up here,” she says. “Women and kids really got us through the winter. One got me gardening in the spring, and that’s when it started to turn around. I think it’s something about being in nature that made it more possible. I remember being on my hands and knees. The ground was cold and muddy. I pushed back the dead leaves and saw the bright green shoots of spring. Under all this decay something was growing. Caring for the garden reminded me to care for myself.”

Michelle also opens up about her relationship with director Spike Jonze, revealing that they’re no longer together.

“The timing was impossible. I thought falling in love again was the only thing that was going to save me from the pain. This erroneous idea: It just makes things more complicated.”

Now, splitting their time between homes in Brooklyn and upstate New York, Michelle says she feels “hopeful and grateful.”

“I’m falling more and more in love with [Matilda], and I think she deserves the bulk of my attention. We’re lucky. I can work. She can go to a good school. There’s a lot there for her. And she can know her dad in so many ways, and so many of his friends who will be able to tell her so many stories. His friends, his family—they were a big part of his life, and they will be a big part of her life.”

Filed under: Michelle Williams

  • Lina

    Heartbreaking and open words. She’s so likeable and beautiful!

  • Dana

    I admire Michelle greatly. She got through this tragedy with dignity and grace and appears to be doing a wonderful job raising her adorable Matilda. She is also naturally beautiful!

  • Beautiful woman,outside and more importantly inside.
    She is so thoughtful,emotional and genuine.
    I wish her and Matilda all the best!

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