More than a year after his tragic death, Michelle Williams opens up about losing Heath Ledger.
"I didn't know what my boundaries were for a long time, which made interviews feel very unsafe," Williams, 29, says in Vogue's October issue (on newsstands now) about her former boyfriend, who died of an accidental drug overdose at the age of 28 in January 2008.
She adds: "I can talk about grief because that's mine, about single parenting, about trying to balance work and kids. But what I don't have to talk about is what happened between Heath and me in our relationship."
She and Ledger — who met while filming Brokeback Mountain — dated for three years before they amicably split in August 2007. The duo had a daughter, Matilda Rose, 3.
"Brokeback Mountain was an unrepeatable moment in time, a very charmed time in my life," she tells Vogue. "I was in love. I was in a movie I was proud to be a part of, and with a beautiful brand-new baby. Everything was good in that moment.”
When he died, she struggled to cope.
"I was holding it together by a string and a paper clip in the fall and winter," she says. "I didn’t know if I could keep it all together… You console yourself by saying it’s all a deepening process. But it’s wired. After the first year, the pain is less intense — it’s less immediate. But the magical thinking goes away too. And that’s a whole new reckoning."
Still, their child provided her strength.
In July 2008, she began dating director Spike Jonze but admits it hasn't been easy.
"I thought falling in love again was the only thing that was going to save me from the pain," she laments. "This erroneous idea: It just makes things more complicated.”
Of the future, she says: "I feel hopeful and grateful. For a while I thought we had lost everything. It makes you want to love better and live better."