Channeling her inner Marilyn Monroe, actress Michelle Williams graces the cover of the February issue of GQ magazine. In the far-reaching interview accompanying the sexy shots, Michelle touches on everything from her own childhood to the one she’s trying to create for her 6-year-old daughter Matilda Rose.
Picking up the statue for best actress at this weekend’s Golden Globe awards, the My Week with Marilyn star thanked Matilda, noting that she thinks of herself as “a mother first and an actress second.” Motherhood is a role she seems to cherish, though it certainly hasn’t always been easy.
In the interview, Michelle opens about the tragic death of Matilda’s dad Heath Ledger in 2008, and recalls how even as she struggled to come to terms with the overwhelming loss, her instinct was to protect her daughter from the intense media attention surrounding them at the time.
“It was too much—trying to deal with what had happened and trying to deal with what was at our doorstep. I just felt trapped. And it’s not just me—there’s somebody else who I’m trying to protect, and I can’t. I can’t make it stop, I can’t make it go away. Trying to find ways to explain it or shield her from it. It’s like you’re trying to go about your life, and make dinner…but the roof is off of your house, and the walls are falling down.”
Asked what drew her to Heath on the 2004 set of Brokeback Mountain, Michelle seems relunctant to answer, but does say, “Our initial meeting, the circumstances of how we first met, were cosmic or something.”
And though the pair eventually split, she tearfully admits that she still finds comfort in the dream that they ended up together: “I said it would make me too sad to answer but it’s also… one of my favorite things to imagine. It’s actually one of my favorite places to visit.”
As a single mom, Michelle says she did feel pressure to find a partner, to give her daughter a brother or sister, “Because I really wanted, and I really expected or imagined, that Matilda would have siblings that were close to her age. I wanted that for her. But I couldn’t make that happen. And now that she’s 6 that isn’t even a possibility anymore. So something that was making me feel impatient, that’s been removed. For whatever reason, that’s not our luck, or our path.”
Read Michelle’s entire interview at GQ.com