Manchester by the Sea star Michelle Williams took the time to recently share her thoughts on being a woman in Hollywood, but, in a much more emotionally-charged segment of the interview, Williams opened up about what it has been like to raise her daughter alone. Forced into single parenthood by the tragic passing of Heath Ledger in 2008, Michelle has had to raise 11-year-old daughter Matilda Rose by herself, which she describes as a constant reminder of what both she and Matilda lost with Ledger’s death. Ms. Williams reveals how Heath’s passing has impacted Matilda’s upbringing and her own life.
Manchester By The Sea Star Michelle Williams Reflects On Life Without Heath Ledger
USA Today reveals that now, even eight years later, Michelle Williams is still learning how to cope with Heath Ledger’s death and the hole his passing has left in her life. Williams says she normally accepts events, preferring not to fight the inevitable or dwelling on past bad times, but, with Ledger’s death, there seems to be no getting around it for the Manchester by the Sea star.
“In all honesty, for pretty much everything else, I feel like I’m a believer in not fighting circumstances, accepting where you are and where you’ve been,” Williams said. “In pretty much all senses but one. I would be able to go totally down that line of thinking were it not for Matilda not having her dad. You know that’s just something that doesn’t … I mean, it just won’t ever be right.”
While Matilda’s well being is her primary concern, Michelle admits that Heath’s death has affected her more deeply as a woman than she cares to admit, confessing that she’s also found it difficult to jump back into the dating game, as well. She doesn’t specifically say that she resists dating out of a fear of failing to find someone who measures up to Ledger, but Williams does say she’s not alone in her apprehension to find new love. Michelle has found other women with similar misgivings about looking for new love.
“I know a handful of women in similar positions (to me), it’s kind of like a club,” Ms. Williams said. “It’s a (expletive) club and we don’t want any new members … and all of the current members are exhausted. But man, oh man, it’s lifesaving to have (them).”
Even without Heath Ledger or a new love love interest, Michelle says life is wondrous, because she has Matilda. Watching her daughter find joy and amazement in the simplicity of nature is just one example of the ways in which Williams becomes open to happiness in her life. Michelle says she finds amazement in seeing Matilda happy and realizes life is really something to be celebrated.
Michelle Williams And Natalie Portman Swap Stories About Being Child Stars
Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams took part in an interview session for Variety, where Portman played the part of examiner, while Williams played interviewee. The session revealed much about both stars, including details of their very early introduction into acting. Michelle reveals that she was only 11-years-old, when she first started acting, while Natalie confesses to starting at a similar age, though nothing can compare, when the Manchester by the Sea star reveals that her talent agent was a man of unique abilities.
“It was really hard when I started out, and the bottom of absolutely every barrel,” said Williams. “My first agent was a part-time undertaker.”
Michelle adds that acting is particularly hard for children, and as much as she enjoys her career now, she regrets that getting started early kept her from really enjoying her childhood. In fact, as she works on projects today, Williams looks at present-day child actors and says she feels conflicted, because she knows from first-hand experience the sacrifices those kids are making.
Natalie nods in acknowledgement and suggests that actresses see that darker side to acting more than their male counterparts, because of the roles in which they are frequently cast.
“Yes, and we end up doing that a lot, too — more than men — because so many female parts are moms,” said Portman. “I feel like I always work with a kid.”
Michelle Williams admits that she shows her maternal instincts on set, becoming an overprotective den mother to those child actors. She shows a greater interest in those child actors, trying to find out about their hobbies and dreams. Williams wants to do what little she can to give them back a few precious moments of their childhood, before it’s too late.
Ms. Portman admitted that her childhood wasn’t quite as carefree as the lives of most children, because her own family has always been very academic and very professional. In that kind of upbringing, Natalie says she found acting to be an escape.
“I feel that there is something around that time where you do have an instinct about what you really love,” said Portman. “I don’t know where it came from, because there’s no one in my family who was ever a performer.”
No matter how they came to become actresses, there is one thing that Natalie Portman and Michelle Williams do have in common. They both have a great love for acting and filmmaking. Each actress says there is nothing they would rather do, adding that they find joy in their careers.
“I do love doing it, and I can’t really imagine doing anything else,” says Michelle Williams. “I want to keep doing it.”
[Featured Image by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images]