Family Health

Michelle Williams Talks About Parenting 13-Year-Old Daughter Matilda on Late Heath Ledger's 40th Birthday

Michelle Williams is opening up about parenting her teen daughter on what would have been Heath Ledger‘s 40th birthday.

During an appearance on Live with Kelly and Ryan on Thursday, the 38-year-old Dawson’s Creek actress spoke about her and Ledger’s daughter Matilda, 13, reaching adolescence.

“You have a teenage daughter in your house. You still seemed relaxed, you’re smiling,” said host Kelly Ripa.

Williams laughed and said, “So far so good.”

“Every morning we wake up and I wait to see if the transformation has happened and if it’s turned into the next level I keep hearing about,” she continued. “But we’re not there yet.”

Ripa’s husband and guest co-host Mark Consuelos, 48, chimed in and said, “Can I say, I think you’re going to be okay?” Turning to his wife, he asked, “Wouldn’t you agree?”

Discussing the changing personalities of teenagers, Ripa, 48, nodded in agreement: “I feel like it would’ve turned by now … I mean the personality.”

Although Williams largely keeps her private life low-key, she opened up about parenting her daughter without Ledger, who died in 2008, to Vanity Fair in July 2018.

“I always say to Matilda, ‘Your dad loved me before anybody thought I was talented, or pretty, or had nice clothes,’ ” Williams said.

“When you’re a single parent, and that element of provider and protection is missing, it’s scary,” she said of raising Matilda after the actor’s death.

She and Ledger dated for three years after meeting on the set of their 2005 film Brokeback Mountain, though they separated five months before his death. Matilda was 2 years old at the time.

Williams added, “I parent to let Matilda feel free to be herself, and I am finally loved by someone who makes me feel free.”

She also confirmed her marriage to musician Phil Elverum to Vanity Fair at the time, revealing the couple had a secret ceremony in the Adirondacks with a few friends and their respective daughters present. (Elverum has a young daughter from his first marriage.)

“I don’t really want to talk about any of it,” Williams said about her private life. “But there’s that tease, that lure, that’s like, ‘What if this helps somebody? What if somebody who has always journeyed in this way, who has struggled as much as I struggled, and looked as much as I looked, finds something that helps them?’ Don’t settle. Don’t settle for something that feels like a prison, or is hard, or hurts you,” she shared. “If it doesn’t feel like love, it’s not love.”

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