Michelle Williams on Life In the Public Eye: 'It's Impossible to Have an Authentic Experience of Being Alive'

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Photo: Terry Tsiolis for ELLE
Michelle Williams is opening up about life in the public eye, comparing the “performative aspect” of being in the limelight to “death.”
The Manchester by the Sea actress got candid about fame in a cover interview for Elle.
“If you feel like people are watching you, it’s impossible to have an authentic experience of being alive,” said the 36-year-old star, who rose to the spotlight in late ‘90s TV hit Dawson’s Creek. “There’s a performative aspect and a guardedness, and that’s just death. I don’t know how to live like that, and I don’t know how to give a life to my child like that.”
Williams, who has an 11-year-old daughter, Matilda Rose, from her relationship with late Australian actor Heath Ledger, added that being prone to public attention has made her set firm boundaries, even though doing so is not in her nature.
“It’s not naturally my inclination to be a boundary draw-er,” she told the magazine. “I’m like, ‘Open up all the doors and the windows and let everybody in.’ That’s the aim of my work, too.”
“It’s been a really, really long time since I’ve been in an interview,” she added. “But I have better boundaries now. I feel less susceptible to emotional wreck-diving to come up with explanations for everything.”
The actress looks stunning rocking on the Elle cover, rocking a black Michael Kors sweater, red lips and Cartier earrings.
Photo: Terry Tsiolis for ELLE
In the interview, she also discussed the inspiration behind herManchester By the Seaperformance, which has sparked Oscar buzz.
“Everybody talks about the silences in movies and how interesting they are, but it’s a lot easier than connecting beat to beat, line to line, inside of a scene in real time in front of a thousand people,” Williams said. “But when I went to make [Manchester by the Sea], I felt a little bit more freedom, more access inside of myself.”
See Williams talk about raising Matilda without Ledger in the video below.