Three years later, Michelle Williams has learned to live with the shocking 2008 overdose death of Heath Ledger, her ex boyfriend and dad to her daughter Matilda, now 5 -- but that doesn't mean she'll ever recover.
"Obviously, for me and for [Matilda], there's a hole in our life," the Blue Valentine actress, 30, tells the February issue of Marie Claire.
"Of course the natural inclination is to want to fill it and make it disappear," the star explains, "but what I've come to recently is that it's impossible. Nothing will fit in that hole because what we want back we can't get, which is this one person. I'm not going to rush anything and scamper around like a mad person and make myself crazy. I'm trying to be respectful of the absence. I'm not trying to fill it up. It is what it is."
Williams took a major sabbatical after Ledger's death. "I didn't work for a year. I needed to gather myself and put my life back together," she says. "I had to be dragged back to work, basically, because I finally had my life in some kind of order, and I didn't know what would happen if I introduced work into it."
And what about her love life these days? Williams demurs on specifics, but jokes of off-set romance talk with Blue Valentine costar Ryan Gosling: "My poor mom really wants me to meet someone. I think she wanted to believe the Ryan Gosling rumor more than anybody." (Their sex scenes were so intense that the flick narrowly dodged an NC-17 rating.)
The buzzed-about star isn't even sure she's the marrying kind. "The idea that you can get everything you want in one person is destructive," she says of finding your soulmate. "And maybe when you accept that the number is closer to 50 or 60 or 70 percent, that's when you can start to make some progress in choosing the right person."
Her search for a longtime companion is complicated by the fact that she's a mom, she adds. "I don't want to make a mistake that big, and that saddens me, because it's harder to let yourself go. I can inflict any kind of injury on myself, but with my daughter, that's not an option."