Michelle Williams is still guarding her daughter's privacy nine years after Heath Ledger's death
And nine years on, the Manchester By The Sea actress is continuing to do so, despite still suffering with the heartbreak of losing the true love of her life.
Matilda was only two-years-old when The Dark Knight stand-out died of an accidental drug overdose on January 22, 2008, and while Hollywood mourned the loss of one of its most promising stars, it was no doubt the life of his little one and Michelle that would suffer the greatest impact.
After falling in love on the set of Brokeback Mountain – with both receiving Oscar nods – it wasn’t long before the duo announced that they were expecting their first child.
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Hollywood actress Michelle Williams on Manchester By The Sea
The Manchester By The Sea actress split with Heath just months before his death
And their admiration for one another only seemed to grow after they welcomed their new addition, with Heath labelling Michelle the “perfect mum”.
“I am so proud, I just fall deeper and deeper in love with both my girls,” he said, though the couple shocked the world when they announced their break-up in September 2007.
“It was rocked for a while. They did what they could to make it work,” a source told People at the time.
Despite their split, it was clear the two were still very much in love as Michelle professed her sadness following the news of his passing.
Heath and Michelle welcomed daughter Matilda in 2006
If you feel like people are watching you, it’s impossible to have an authentic experience of being alive.
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“Please respect our need to grieve privately. My heart is broken,” she said in a statement following his death.
“I am the mother of the most tender-hearted, high-spirited, beautiful little girl who is the spitting image of her father. All that I can cling to is his presence inside her that reveals itself every day.
“His family and I watched Matilda as she whispers to trees, hugs animals, and takes two steps at a time, and we know that he is with us still. She will be brought up in the best memories of him.”
Shortly after, Michelle made sure to remove her little girl from the limelight and swapped city life for tranquil country living.
“We moved – we left Brooklyn and lived in the country for six years because it was an intolerable state of existence,” she told the New York Post last June, before admitting that she made sure to choose her movie projects wisely.
Despite her Hollywood career, the Blue Valentine star has still chosen to shun the West Coast in favour of a more low-key lifestyle in New York City.
Heath's daughter was just two-years-old when the star passed away from an accidental overdose
Heath Ledger's last film premiere
Wed, October 7, 2009
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“If you feel like people are watching you, it’s impossible to have an authentic experience of being alive. There’s a performative aspect and a guardedness, and that’s just death. I don’t know how to live like that, and I don’t know how to give a lift to my child like that,” she previously told Elle.
Though Michelle will be the first to admit that it’s the media picture ban that has been at the forefront in helping maintain her daughter’s privacy.
“[The picture ban] has changed our lives,” she enthused to the Post, before referring to fellow actress Kristen Bell as her “personal hero” for being among the first to stop the publishing of unauthorised photos of celebrity’s children.
She explained: “I email [Bell] once every couple of months and say, ‘I owe you everything. My daughter’s happiness is in your hands.’ Talk about a go-getter!”