Michelle Williams Opens Up About Parenting Without Heath Ledger

2 minute read

It’s been nearly eight years since Heath Ledger’s tragic death, but ex-wife (and mother of their 11-year-old daughter, Matilda) Michelle Williams has remained a successful parent and Oscar-nominated actress on her own. In a recent interview with Porter magazine, Williams shed a little insight into motherhood during the grieving process — as seen through the lens of her character in the critically acclaimed new drama Manchester by the Sea.

“It’s like the darkest part of your heart, something happening to your child … She’s making a brave choice, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day,” Williams explains of her character’s drive to reclaim her life after loss. “Because it is a choice. I would exit,” she said. “It would be so much easier than living with the loss.” (In the movie, Williams’s character Mia becomes estranged from main actor Casey Affleck.)

“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,” she told the fashion magazine. “I would be able to go totally down that line of thinking were it not for Matilda not having her dad… I mean, it just won’t ever be right.”

Williams also shared a tender moment realizing her daughter was growing up happily.

“Not only are we OK, she’s happy. Life has brought us to a place that’s not just surviving, but thriving,” she said.

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Write to Raisa Bruner at raisa.bruner@time.com