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Michelle Williams Describes Pain of Leaving Home Shared with Heath Ledger

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 23: Michelle Williams at the 7th AnnuIn the wake of tragedy, so many people cling to reminders of someone they have lost. Often, they will keep a bedroom exactly as it was when that person was still alive and may struggle when they are forced to move on.

Michelle Williams, who has been very open lately about her pain and challenges in life, shared what it was like for her to move away from the home that she once shared with Heath Ledger, her ex-boyfriend and father of their daughter, Matilda.


After three years together, Ledger died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs back in 2008. This past weekend marked the 9-year anniversary of his shocking death. It took until December 2015 for Williams to sell their Brooklyn home and the reasons are absolutely heartbreaking.

The 36-year-old actress explained: “At that time, I was inconsolable, because I felt, ‘How will he be able to find us? This is where we lived, and he won’t know where we are.”

Fortunately, it’s only been a short time but she already feels better about her decision. Reflecting, she said: “And now I can’t believe I thought that. Maybe that’s what’s making me cry is I feel sad for the person who thought he won’t be able to locate [us].”

Single Parenting

As Williams, who has been winning accolades and nominations for her role in Manchester By the Sea, raises Matilda, who is now 11 years old, she realizes that things won’t ever be the way she once hoped.

“It’s a little bit difficult to contend with a feeling of failure for not living up to a standard of normal,” she shared. “Sometimes it can feel alienating; at school functions, there’s only two of us single mothers. Everyone else has a partner, so we buddy up.”

While she has spoken about this dynamic many times recently, it’s hard to imagine that there really is only one other single parent at her child’s school. Many people get divorced or have spouses who cannot attend functions due to scheduling issues so it’s unfortunate that she happens to be surrounded by families that have remained intact (not unfortunate for the families, though, of course!).  Maybe it’s a sign of a shift in our society which could be a very good thing.

Not Ready to Date

Williams may be parenting alone but that hasn’t made her feel like she needs to be in a relationship. She explained: “It’s hard to romanticize romance when you’re 36. When you’ve been a parent for 11 years and you’ve done it alone, you don’t have romantic ideals, because you have a practical understanding that you can do it by yourself. The romantic idea of meeting your person and having a storybook family life that looks like the model you grew up with — that doesn’t really exist for me.”

It’s not that she hasn’t dated – most notably she was in relationships with director, Spike Jonze, and actor, Jason Segel – she just doesn’t want to settle for less than she deserves which is admirable. She explains that, while there is pressure to couple up, she refuses to let a “send of conformity or duty override [her] instincts.”

Instead, she says that Matilda is in a “good place” and that the stability of their situation makes it easier for her to take time away from her daughter to work. Honestly, this is a great example for single parents who need a reminder that, if they haven’t found the “right” partner, they can still be happy, fulfilled, and dedicated to their children and to themselves. It’s an example we need so much in times like these.

Michelle Williams Describes Pain of Leaving Home Shared with Heath Ledger

Jeanne Croteau

Jeanne has been a celebrity blogger for eight years and also teaches psychology at the college level. In addition to her passion for mental health, she is an avid reader, hockey fan and mother of four.

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APA Reference
Croteau, J. (2017). Michelle Williams Describes Pain of Leaving Home Shared with Heath Ledger. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 Jan 2017
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