Michelle Williams isn't just a phenomenal actor, she's also a role model mother in many ways. Of course, she has had her fair share of challenges, most of which were in the public eye. But through each and every trial and tribulation, she seems to have come out on top and given her daughter, Matilda, one amazing life.
Williams met Matilda's father, the late Heath Ledger, on the set of the Academy Award-nominated Brokeback Mountain and the two were inseparable for a period after that. The two dated and conceived Matilda during the course of three years until they ultimately went their separate ways. But the two remained friendly in order to give their beloved daughter everything she needed. Then, as we all know, we lost Heath Ledger. This caused Williams to stand strong as a parent and do the right thing for her daughter. But she also had a little help. For one, her best friend, actor Busy Phillips, was there from the beginning. The two met back in the days of Dawson's Creek. Throughout Willaims's time as a parent, she has taken many lessons from Phillips. Without further ado, here are 20 Ways Michelle Williams Is Raising Heath Ledger's Daughter (And 5 Things She Picked Up From BFF Busy).
25 Away From The Press
After Heath Ledger left us, the press swarmed Michelle Williams and her young daughter. This is why she made the decision to move her daughter away from public scrutiny. She moved outside of Brooklyn for a long time. It was a rural farming community. It allowed her daughter to run around and play without having to worry too much about the press snapping her photo. But eventually, the paparazzi followed them there and they made the choice to return to New York.
24 Parenting With Another Solo Parent
For a few years, Michelle Williams was raising Matilda all by herself. A lot of the most formative experiences that Matilda had, was during a time when her father was no longer around. But, fairly recently, Williams married another solo parent, Phil Elverum. And now their families have melded. This is an interesting choice for Williams to make, as Elverum clearly understands what it means to be raising a child on his own, as he lost his previous wife was back in 2015.
23 Tip From Busy: Accept Help From Friends
Busy Phillips has been around her best friend since before Michelle Williams was a household name. During this time, the two have obviously rubbed off on one another. The way they have influenced one another is numerous, but one is particularly worth noting. Phillips taught Williams to accept help from her friends, especially while raising Matilda on her own. This was encapsulated by a photo that Phillips shared of Williams leaning on her shoulder just after Ledger left us. The caption on the photo was "It's ok".
22 Knowing That It Won't Ever Be Right
In an interview, Michelle Williams made a very poignant comment about raising Matilda on her own. She said that it would never be right. It would never be the way that Matilda deserved. Life would have turned out a lot differently had Ledger been around to help raise Matilda. But that didn't happen. Therefore, Williams doesn't kid herself. She knows she can be an amazing parent to Matilda, but it's not the same as it would be if Ledger had been around to share the load and influence Matilda in his own way.
21 With The Support Of Family
Earlier, we spoke about how Busy Phillips encouraged Michelle Williams to accept help from her friends. But this entry deals with how Willaims has taken the love and support from her family when raising Matilda. Specifically, the late Heath Ledger's family has been very involved in Matilda's growth. This is especially notable since most of Ledger's family still lives in Australia. But they are very supportive of her. Ledger's sister, Kate, even had this to say, "I think that she provides such a wonderful environment for Matilda to grow up in, especially in the sort of industry that she's in."
20 Telling Matilda Positive Things About Her Dad
Although Heath Ledger passed due to some complicated circumstances, Michelle Williams makes sure to sheds a positive light on her daughter's dad. She wants Matilda to have a very healthy but loving view of her late father. This is important for any child who has lost a parent as they could develop an animosity for them since they weren't around when they should have been. One of the ways she encourages positivity is by telling Matilda things like this: "I always say to Matilda, 'Your dad loved me before anybody thought I was talented, or pretty, or had nice clothes."
19 Accepting The Circumstances
Michelle Williams knows that parenting Matilda will never be right since Heath Ledger isn't around to be active in her life. But that doesn't mean that she hasn't come to terms with the situation that they've been handed. She told a fashion magazine, “In all honesty, for pretty much everything else, I feel like I’m a believer in not fighting circumstances, accepting where you are and where you’ve been." She went on to say that they have made the best out of what has happened to them. And that they are not only happy but actually thriving. Overcoming adversity seems to be like a great lesson to teach one's kid.
18 Tip From Busy: Love Doesn't Have To Be Romantic
In 2016, while promoting her beautiful film Manchester By the Sea, Williams told People that she was attending the screening with Busy Phillips because she was "so in love with her." She then went on to say that, "She's proof that the love of your life does not have to be a man! That's the love of my life right there." Williams's honest feelings about how important Philipps is, proves how impactful this woman has been on her life. Phillips taught her that the love that exists in friendship can be as powerful as romantic love. This is something that Matilda gets to learn firsthand.
17 Being An Active Listener
Michelle Williams said something that was not only interesting but also quite insightful in regards to how she parents Matilda. She said this: “Personally and professionally, the great [trick to] working with children and knowing children is listening to children, and responding to who they are. Not your idea of a perfect child, not who you want them to be, but who they really are." This is a lesson that we can all learn from. Not just when it comes to parenting, but also how we interact with friends and family.
16 Not Being Handed Everything
How can a successful movie star not hand everything to their kid? It must be really challenging. After all, they literally have everything at their fingertips. But, like all parents, Williams struggles with the desire to give her child everything. In an interview, she said, “It sounds counterintuitive but I hope nothing in life comes too easily for my daughter. I would decimate someone who hurt her. But I hope she struggles for what she wants. I hope she forges her way with grit and experience and finds heart and courage.”
15 Growing Up With Animals
There's a great deal of literature that suggests that children who grow up with animals in their household thrive in many ways. These ways include learning responsibility as well as being more open and loving. Williams says that she raises Matilda with a ton of animals around. In fact, she even stated that they have a "zoo" in their apartment. This zoo includes fish, a cat, as well as a dog. All of these animals add something great to Matilda's life on multiple levels.
14 Absolutely No Cell Phones
Some believe that smartphones have done more bad than they have good. This is because they have made everything and anything completely accessible with little to no effort. It's also caused problems when it comes to connecting with others. This is precisely why Michelle Williams has taken a hard line on this issue. Matilda is absolutely not allowed to have a cellphone of any design until she is much older. She doesn't want her to become over-indulged as well as distracted from real-life going on around her.
13 Having A Blended Family
It's been over a decade since actor Heath Ledger left us when he was merely 28-years-old. But recently, Michelle Williams has chosen to move on from her past. She has married another solo parent, Phil Elverum and has melded his family into her own. Now Matilda has a proper sibling-figure to interact with as well as a step-father. Additionally, Ledger's family is very active in Matilda's life. So, the young Ledger has so many loving individuals to grow up around.
12 Cherishing The Word "Mama"
When asked what she values most about being a mother, Michelle Williams gave a very interesting answer. This answer gave us a bit of insight into the type of lessons that she is teaching her daughter, Matilda. Williams claimed that hearing the word "Mama" makes her whole life worthwhile. This informs us that the connection between mother and child is something that Williams has Matilda cherish at home. What a beautiful and important message to teach her daughter. It's something that will no doubt carry-on throughout her entire life.
11 Life Free From Excess
Because Williams has worked so hard, as well as been lucky in her work, she can afford to give her daughter practically anything she wanted. But Williams knows that this can be harmful. After all, her daughter could grow a level of entitlement as many children of celebrities have done. Instead, Williams keeps her daughter away from excess. On her birthday, she will knit Matilda a scarf or give her some sort of experience instead of copious gifts. She absolutely doesn't want her daughter thinking that she is some sort of royal figure.
10 Tip From Busy: Build Those Friendships
Busy Phillips has taught Michelle Williams a great deal about the importance of friendships. While we are sure that the vice versa is true, we are here to focus on the influence that Phillips has had on the Drive and Venom star. Because William's friendship with Phillips is constantly unfolding in the press, Matilda is getting to learn how important it is for her to nurture friendships of her own. After all, they can help her out as she grows up, even if it's just having someone to spend hours with.
9 Having A "Normal" Life
In an engaging interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Heath Ledger's sister, Kate Ledger, went into detail about Michelle Williams's parenting style. She said that Williams has always strived to give Matilda as normal of a life as possible. Of course, this is a very difficult thing given the fact that she's the daughter of movie stars. Kate claimed that she knows that Matilda's existence is different than most, but Williams does everything she can to make her life feel like any other kid's life.
8 It's Okay To Make New Friends
In a fascinating article written in The New York Times, writer Albert Stern described how he ran into Michelle Williams and her daughter at a cafe in Manhattan. Matilda was apparently very excited to play with Stern's two-year-old son, even though he was a complete stranger. And though Williams could have been tentative about this, she was more than happy to sit with a stranger in order for her daughter to make new friends, if only for a minute or two.
7 Tip From Busy: Have A Sense Of Humor
Michelle Williams isn't exactly known for comedy. But luckily for her bestie is. Phillips's influence on Williams has increased her funny bone. For instance, Phillips had this to say: "Michelle sent me a life-size cardboard cutout of herself to keep me company while I recover and it's so hilarious and also keeps scaring me when I come into the room, which is also kind of hilarious." This personality trait is certainly something that will transfer from Williams to Matilda.
6 Always Tell The Truth
In an article written for The New York Times, writer Albert Stern described how he ran into Michelle Williams and her daughter at a cafe in Manhattan. While his young son was playing with Matilda, and Williams was sitting beside him, he asked the famous daughter how old she was. Matilda was quick to come back with "four," even though she was in fact only three. Williams was sure to press Matilda on telling the truth, even though the white lie was about something so minuscule. Clearly, truth-telling is something that Williams is keen on making sure her daughter does.
5 Being A Woman Is About More Than Just Being A Mom
One of the best ways that Michelle Williams has chosen to raise her daughter has to do with what it means to be a woman. Williams is an actor, a philanthropist, a friend, and a family member who happens to be a mother as well. Although being a mother is the most important thing in her life, it's not the only thing. Leading by example, Williams encourages Matilda to have passions beyond just baring children of her own, if that's what she chooses to do.
4 Being Cultured Is Important
Think it's pompous to know who Maile Meloy is? Well, Michelle Williams doesn't. She thinks it's powerful to be educated and cultured. This is why she is so studious herself. But it's also the reason why she encourages her daughter to be as well. Williams is the type of person why can quote Jim Harrison's poetry, as well as knows the detailed work of Colson Whitehead, Andrew Solomon, Annie Dillard, Elena Ferrante, Rebecca Solnit, and Henry David Thoreau. But, at the same time, she can also talk about soccer and Marvel comics. One day, Matilda is likely to do the same.
3 Motherhood Is The Center Of Her World
Michelle Williams parents Matilda knowing that her job as a mother is the center of her world. All of her other passions, duties, and obligations come after Matilda. At the very least, they are all integrated into the core of who she is.
Williams had this to say, “Being a mother is not only who I am in my relationship with my daughter, but it’s a part of the kind of work that I want to make and the relationship with the person that I want to be for her, so there is really no area of my life that is untouched. It’s at the center of everything that I do.”
2 Tip From Busy: It's Okay To Have Attitude
Williams admits that a great deal of her personality has been influenced by her best friend. When the two first met on the set of Dawson's Creek, Phillips was the "coolest" person Williams had ever met. A lot of this had to do with the fact that she wouldn't take guff from anybody. She had an attitude. And although some people didn't like it, it's what made her strong and special. Williams learned that this was important and that it was okay to have some attitude if it wasn't based in malice. Matilda will certainly be given a few of these attitude lessons from time to time.
1 Encouraging Individuality
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Michelle Williams had this to say about parenting Matilda: "I parent to let Matilda feel free to be herself, and I am finally loved by someone who makes me feel free. My daughter gave me a card that said, ‘Mom, thanks for letting me be me,’ and it was a picture with somebody in high heels on a skateboard.”
Being free to be herself is something that will shape Matilda into a dynamic and engaging individual who has a shot at a productive, selfless, and interesting life. She's lucky to have a mother that encourages this.