Before Heath Ledger’s tragic death last month, Michelle Williams sat down with British magazine Wonderland. The issue has just hit newsstands.
In the interview, Michelle, 27, briefly opens up about her split from Heath, as well as how daughter Matilda, 2, has changed her life.
Eerily, she also talks about shooting a movie, where she pays a woman grieving over the loss of her husband.
ON SPLITTING WITH HEATH
“When you’re in a relationship with somebody who is also a public personality then it doubles the attention from the media. When you minus that equation it’s just less enticing. That’s been a real bonus. It’s the plus side of the break-up for me. It was so pervading, it got bad there for a while. Every time I walk out of the door I still worry. That’s what is so silly about it: even if the paparazzi aren’t there, you wonder if they are. I’m not good at that stuff. I need to get better at it. It really used to affect me.”
ON HOW MOTHERHOOD HAS CHANGED HER
“I feel like I didn’t have any relationship with my body before Matilda. Well, I did, but it was just a bad one. After having my daughter I can’t judge myself in the same way. My body has done this totally miraculous but utterly ordinary thing. The downside is that my vocabulary has shrunk to the size of a pea. Since having a kid I just don’t have the same access to the world. I don’t see as many shows, I don’t go to many movies and I hardly read any books anymore. I’m lucky to make it through a book a month. So you start to develop in a much more non-verbal way, which can be so frustrating. Also there’s been a lot going on in my personal life and part of me is… I don’t know. I shouldn’t talk about it but it’s like I’m re-emerging back into the world or something.”
ON BALANCING WORK AND MOTHERHOOD
“It’s not easy. Last April I was over in London doing a movie called Incendiary with Ewan McGregor. It’s about a woman grieving after losing her husband and son in a terrorist attack. It was a brutal role and arduous: six-day weeks, 14 hour-days. I was like the walking dead towards the end. Matilda would visit me everyday on-set for lunch and I’d race home to put her to bed. My only days off were Sundays and as much as I’d want to pass out, I’d try to take her out somewhere fun so she didn’t associate me with boredom. The only time that is really my own these days is after I’ve put her to bed and until I go to bed. That’s about two hours.”
ON LOOKING FORWARD TO HER 30s
“I don’t really have a concept of my 30s. Obviously so much has changed for me in the last few months that I don’t really have an idea of what my life is going to be. I thought I knew certain things and it turned out that I didn’t so I don’t really try and anticipate so much anymore. I’m not making any bets on the future. I feel like I’m just starting to catch up to my age. 27 years old sounds about right now. For a long time I didn’t really relate to my age because I was working so much when I was 16 and I had a child at 24. I always felt way too young for my situation. Now it’s starting to even out.”
ON BEING A WORKAHOLIC
“Sometimes I wonder but I’m very happy at home just reading a book or pottering about. I love domestic life. I’m really my mother’s daughter. I like needlepoint, folding laundry and baking bread. I can be happy doing that stuff for a long time. But right now the work is so good and the opportunities are so remarkable – they’re what I’ve always hoped for – that it’s hard to pass up. You always wonder how long the good roles will keep coming.”
ON BEING AN INTROVERT
“It’s a generalization but actors are either extroverts or introverts, it’s true. I’ve been thinking a lot recently about why I act because I think of myself as more of an introvert. I embarrass easily. I have such problems with people looking at me. So I think, ‘Why do I do this to myself? Why do I do something so public?’ But I never expected it to be this public. It does seem like a funny choice for somebody who doesn’t really like attention.”
ON GROWING UP ON TV
“I was 16 when I started. It’s a strange record to have of those awkward years. It was a very important time for my personal development. When I came onto that show I didn’t have any taste or values. Doing that show gave me self-esteem and my work ethic. But, weirdly enough, it also gave me some privacy to develop my ideas about who I was as an actress and what I did and did not want to do.”
ON SKIPPING KATIE HOLMES’ WEDDING
“Everybody wants to know that. No, I didn’t go because I was working on The Tourist. To be honest, we’re not really in touch.”