Michelle Williams Shares the Touching Thing She Tells Her Daughter Matilda About Heath Ledger

Michelle Williams
Getty Images

Ledger passed away in 2008 and is Matilda's father.

Michelle Williams is opening up like she never has before.

The intensely private actress gets candid in a tell-all interview with Vanity Fair, and in addition to revealing her secret wedding to musician Phil Elverum, she speaks about her past relationship with Heath Ledger.

Ledger died in 2008 and is the father of Williams’ 12-year-old daughter, Matilda. The two dated for three years after meeting on the set of their 2005 film, Brokeback Mountain.

“When you’re a single parent, and that element of provider and protection is missing, it’s scary,” she admits.

Williams, 37, also shares what she tells Matilda about her late father. “I always say to Matilda, ‘Your dad loved me before anybody thought I was talented, or pretty, or had nice clothes,’” she says, adding, “I never gave up on love.”

Williams goes on to talk about what it's been like raising Matilda on her own and how important it was that her daughter have a stable upbringing.

“She hasn’t had her routine disrupted and hasn’t missed class,” she notes, adding that the summers are their "undone time."

"[I’m] less scheduled, less regulated, less hustle, less go go go," she says of the season.

In addition to opening up about life with her daughter, Williams seems excited to share details about the new love of her life, Elverum. “Ultimately the way he loves me is the way I want to live my life on the whole. I work to be free inside of the moment," she says of her husband. "I parent to let Matilda feel free to be herself, and I am finally loved by someone who makes me feel free.”

Elverum also knows about grief. In July 2015, his then-wife, Geneviève Castrée, died in their home in Anacortes, Washington, after a battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer. Their daughter, Agathe, was just 18 months.

“Obviously I’ve never once in my life talked about a relationship, but Phil isn’t anyone else,” she adds in praise of the indie singer. “And that’s worth something.”

Opening up doesn’t come easy for Williams, who admits, "Obviously I’ve never once in my life talked about a relationship, but Phil isn’t anyone else. And that’s worth something."

She continues, “What if somebody who has always journeyed in this way, who has struggled as much as I struggled, and looked as much as I looked, finds something that helps them?” 

For more from Williams, watch the clip below: