Michelle Williams is good at many things (making us cry, that voice she did in “I Feel Pretty,” teasing us with the prospect of a “Dawson’s Creek” reunion), but she’s a master of keeping the public out of her private life.
In a Vanity Fair profile published Thursday, the actress spoke candidly for the first time about her new relationship, revealing that she recently tied the knot with musician Phil Elverum of Mt. Eerie and the Microphones.
The two secretly wed during an intimate ceremony with a few friends and family (best friend Busy Philipps didn’t Instagram Story the occasion, but she had to be there) in the Adirondacks. Both of the couple’s children from previous relationships were in attendance.
The Oscar-nominated actress has a 12-year-old daughter, Matilda, with the late Heath Ledger. Elverum is dad to a 3-year-old from his marriage to Geneviève Castrée, who died of cancer 18 months after welcoming the child.
“Obviously I’ve never once in my life talked about a relationship, but Phil isn’t anyone else,” Williams told Vanity Fair. “And that’s worth something. Ultimately the way he loves me is the way I want to live my life on the whole. I work to be free inside of the moment. I parent to let Matilda feel free to be herself, and I am finally loved by someone who makes me feel free.”
She said she was hesitant to disclose her “very sacred and very special” relationship with Elverum, but ultimately decided to open up to “take some heat and confusion” out of the situation.
The couple now resides together in Brooklyn, New York with their daughters.
This new chapter of her life has allowed her to reflect on her romance with Ledger, who died in 2008 due to an accidental overdose. Williams said that over the last decade, she’s been searching for the “radical acceptance” she found in her relationship with the actor.
“I never gave up on love,” she said of her life after Ledger’s death. “I always say to Matilda, ’Your dad loved me before anybody thought I was talented, or pretty, or had nice clothes.”
Williams said back in 2016 that she felt “really sensitive” about dating after Ledger’s death and was focused on giving Matilda the most normal life as single mother.
And while disclosing personal details isn’t exactly natural for the famously reclusive star, she hopes that her story might be of service to someone else in the midst of a tragedy.
“I don’t really want to talk about any of it,” she told Vanity Fair. “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 says. “If it doesn’t feel like love, it’s not love.”
To read Williams’ full profile, head over to Vanity Fair.