Michelle Williams Recalls Time After Heath Ledger’s Death, And How Actor Jeremy Strong Really Stepped Up For Her Daughter Matilda

Michelle Williams in Manchester by the Sea
(Image credit: Amazon Studios)

Back in 2008, Hollywood and the public at large were rocked by the death of Heath Ledger. No one, of course, was more heavily affected by his sudden passing than his loved ones were, including Michelle Williams. The Dawson’s Creek alum, who shares daughter Matilda with the late star, has occasionally spoken about Ledger since his death. And as of late, she’s opened up about the time right after his death and how fellow actor Jeremy Strong stepped up when it came to her daughter. 

Michelle Williams has been friends with Jeremy Strong for some time now, as the two actors have reportedly known each other since 2004, when they were performing at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. Williams discussed Strong and her friendship with him during a wide-ranging interview with Variety. It was during the conversation that she revealed that Strong (along with Williams’ sister and another friend) moved in with her shortly after Heath Ledger’s death. The Oscar-nominated actress explained that the Succession star was a hit with Maltida, as he’d pretend he was a pony and allow her to ride on his back: 

Jeremy was serious enough to hold the weight of a child’s broken heart and sensitive enough to understand how to approach her through play and games and sillines. [Matilda] didn’t grow up with her father, but she grew up with her Jeremy and we were changed by his ability to play as though his life depended upon it, because hers did.

The Venom alum had nothing but praise for her friend, stating that she like many others is “in awe of his talent.” She also defended the actor against the controversial profile, which detailed his seemingly intense acting methods, that was written about him last year. (Other stars like Jessica Chastain and Aaron Sorkin have also spoken on his behalf.) Raising a child under normal circumstances can be difficult, but one can only imagine what it’s like to do so after experiencing such an immense tragedy. 

Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger began dating in 2004 after meeting on the set of Brokeback Mountain, where Ledger was admired by castmates like Kate Mara. Williams gave birth to their daughter in 2005, and the two would eventually break up in 2007. The Academy Award winner died due to an accidental overdose of medication the following year. Ten years later, Williams reflected on his death, specifically expressing sorrow over the fact that her daughter had to grow up without a father. Considering that, it’s easy to see just why she appreciates Jeremy Strong’s presence in the young lady’s life. 

One would assume that it’s not exactly easy for the star to discuss her ex and the effects of his death. Still, despite how difficult that time seemed to be for her, it’s lovely to hear that she had a support system that included Jeremy Strong and others close to her. 

Michelle Williams will next be seen on the big screen in Steven Spielberg’s The Fablemans, one of 2022’s upcoming movies.

Erik Swann
Senior Content Producer

Erik Swann is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He began working with the publication in 2020 when he was hired as Weekend Editor. Today, he continues to write, edit and handle social media responsibilities over the weekend. On weekdays, he also writes TV and movie-related news and helps out with editing and social media as needed. He graduated from the University of Maryland, where he received a degree in Broadcast Journalism. After shifting into multi-platform journalism, he started working as a freelance writer and editor before joining CB. Covers superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. He eats more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.