Michelle Williams 'devastated' over 'Nightline' interview
January 6th, 2011
12:50 PM ET

Michelle Williams 'devastated' over 'Nightline' interview

Just a few weeks ago, Michelle Williams opened up on life after Heath Ledger’s death during an interview with “Nightline,” but the experience has left the actress feeling like she said too much.

So when the Daily Beast asked Williams, who lost Ledger in January 2008 to a drug overdose, about his passing, she said that she struggles with speaking about the late actor, who is the father of her 5-year-old daughter, Matilda.

“Just recently I felt as if I did cross a line about all this,” Williams told the Daily Beast. "I just had an experience with 'Nightline' that got edited in such a way that seemed as if I did go too far. It was a three-hour interview that was edited in such a way that was devastating to me."

She said that in an effort to please while conducting the interview she finally spoke up about Ledger. "Then they used those few quotes and the way they edited the piece to sell the interview, and it appeared as if I were breaking some kind of silence and sitting down with the express purpose to discuss something that is very private to me," she said.

Update, 1/7 9:45 a.m.: A rep for ABC News tells CNN that the interview with Williams "speaks for itself. Like all our work, it was done fairly and thoughtfully."

"Yet," the 30-year-old "Blue Valentine" star went on, “if I’m going to do interviews and be in this world, I don’t want to seem as if I’m just taking a party line. I want to say something that is representative of who I am and what I’m thinking about and what matters to me in the same ways that I want to do that in my work because my work and my life do feed off each other. The two do go together. But when it comes to interviews, it all becomes rather tricky because I don’t want to say something without resonance but then I don’t want to go too far.”

Hopefully Williams's words to the Daily Beast about Ledger's death won't leave with her that feeling.

"I experienced a lot of loss after his death," Williams said in the interview. "I lost my city because of all the paparazzi descending upon us. I actually lost my journal during that time, oddly enough. I literally couldn’t hold on to anything. It felt as if things were literally slipping through my fingers."

Items "were just streaming away from me," she went on. "I lost my sense of humor. I’m still sort of looking for that."

Filed under: Celebrities

soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. All Of America

    Publicity stunt. Now go disappear.

    February 2, 2011 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
  2. amateur psychologist

    i understood from what i read at the time that the two split up because of heath's lifestyle. i recall that michelle left him so she could raise the child away from his unhealthy living. i think they were still in love but she was and still is truly devastated by his death. i imagine she probably feels a great deal of guilt, that if she had stayed with him it wouldn't have happened. that is probably why she is unable to get over it yet. she probably thought he needed to grow up, instead he died. she seems a lovely person and talented actress, i hope she finds peace.

    January 31, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  3. cynthia

    This woman is not a WIDOW! She is an ex girlfriend who, if she truly had a connection to Heath, she would have married him and made a real committment to him. Instead she shacked up with him and made a baby out of wedlock. Stop giving this woman time on Tv and in magazines. She's yesterday's news and I could care less about her so called suffering. She doesn't know what suffering is. She needs to speak to wives of soldiers who have been killed in the war. They are real widows. She is not!

    January 22, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Pat

    I don't understand the insutls about her. Just because she was not his widow doesn't mean his death can't affect her in a huge way. And the reasons why are obvious.

    January 21, 2011 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dave Crosby

    A comment about believing nothing of what you hear and only half of what you see could be altered in this time of malicious editing and computer generated imagery to nothing of what you hear and maybe only, oh, not much more than ten percent of what you see.

    January 19, 2011 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Graced

    I'm so glad Matilda has her for a mom. She has always struck me as a very calm, reasonable, down-to-earth and kind person. What a shame the love of her life couldn't get away from his addiction and keep his family together. I wish her and her daughter nothing but the best and for her to someday find someone long-term without the demons HL had.

    January 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. danny

    What did she expect from Nightline! Truth has little meaning on this show-headlines is all that matters and if someone's feeliing has to be trampled on well they like to use both feet and jump up and down.

    January 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dan Brown

    I would think the answer to this is simple. Conduct your own interview, post it on youtube. Pour your heart into it and it will offset any media BS on the matter.

    January 19, 2011 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. Polkadot

    Her hair looks friggin awesome! That is a pretty picture of her.

    January 18, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jacqueline

    A rep for ABC News tells CNN that the interview with Williams "speaks for itself. Like all our work, it was done fairly and thoughtfully."

    If so, ABC is a victim as well as a purveyor of false hype and mindless drivel. Like all Infotainment shows, the once respected Nightline dumbs itselt down to the lowest common denominator. That it would exploit a small segment of an interview with a thoughtful, intelligent actress to boost its ratings is shameful, but not surprising. If insomniacs can't tolerate late night TV, I suggest they pick up a book.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mermaid

    Note to writers of the article. Heath Ledger did not die of a "drug overdose". He died of complications from prescription medications. Please let's get it right out of respect for the man.

    January 17, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BoFo

    Note to Michelle –
    Sorry, I think you've mistaken me for somebody who gives a damn.

    January 17, 2011 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. enricorosan

    Confucius once said : Big problems start with big mouth.. –D Frankly, I am not sure if he said it but it sounds good.-D)

    January 16, 2011 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. GMan

    Whatever. I think she looks terrible with that bleached hair (or blotched hair) job.

    January 16, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. lara

    "I experienced a lot of loss after his death," Williams said in the interview. "I lost my city because of all the paparazzi descending upon us. I actually lost my journal during that time, oddly enough. I literally couldn’t hold on to anything. It felt as if things were literally slipping through my fingers."

    Items "were just streaming away from me," she went on. "I lost my sense of humor. I’m still sort of looking for that."

    Get her kid away from her! She doesn't seem like she has gotten herself all together. People die all the time. We've all lost someone. She clearly hasn't put what happened in it's place, probably because she feels responsible for pushing him to use drugs. I'm sorry but, how can you raise a child in a loving and happy home if you're still dwelling on the past. The child probably doesn't even remember her father. Get some help, Michelle.

    January 16, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • kathy b

      She is raising her child in a loving and happy environment and puts her daughter’s welfare above anything else, including her relationships with men.
      The feelings that she has shared with the media are appropriate and straight from the heart, and her rare honesty is a breath of fresh air.
      Your recommendation to “Get her kid away from her” is absolutely ridiculous. Yes, that’s the answer: let the child lose her remaining parent and, what, place her in foster care or an orphanage?

      January 17, 2011 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Rach

      She "pushed him" to do drugs?? I've never, ever heard or read this. And what a mean, cold statement to make, "People die all the time". Of course people die all the time. But when someone close to you dies, it hurts. You're either a stone-cold person, or you've never had anyone close to you pass away. Do yourself, and those around you, a favor and learn to have some sympathy.

      January 20, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
    • AlienAnessa

      Very well said, Amanda...cat must be having a bad year, needs to find fault with what OTHER people experience, and quite obviously didn't think about what he/she was posting even after clicking Post. maryann was sharing what she felt and still feels after all these years, and she was NOT discounting the life she has now.

      January 31, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • AlienAnessa

      Crap, I'm sorry, my reply doesn't apply here, must have clicked on the wrong Reply!!

      January 31, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Ugh

    Not that it makes it any easier, but facts are facts. She was not in a relationship with Heath when he died, in fact, he was dating other people. Apparently she didn't love him enough to live with him and keep him from dying alone, but after the fact, she seems to speak as though they were together and it's sad. Not to mention she always looks absolutely bitter and angry in candid pictures. We get it, you don't like paparrazzi, but would it kill you to smile ONE time?

    January 16, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  17. John

    Try to move on. That's all one can do. Always be wary of the media though. They do not have your interest at heart.

    January 15, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Carol

    It was widely reported (although not confimrd by Ms Williams, that the reason for their parting was Mr Ledger's drug use. That it concerned and was not heathly for Matilda ti be around.
    So, perhaps, she didn't break up with Mr Ledger because she didn't love him but because ut was good for their child. Even post break up there was pelnty of reporting and photoographs showing the couple together with their daughter.
    As for Nightline, it does indeed have higher ratings and more viewers than the lat nigth talk show. Source:
    http://tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/late-night-tv-show-ratings-november-1-7-2010-18862/ (Nielsen rating report)

    January 15, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  19. pat d

    Oh for cryin out loud! Be honest and don't worry so much about your self image, Michelle! Can't these folks be real for once and express what they mean? S-it or get off the pot. You're an actress, you had a relationship with Heath, then bad things happened. It's not as if you're mother teresa, for pete's sake!

    January 15, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  20. Peggy

    What does it matter that they weren't a couple when he died? Just because they weren't together doesn't mean she didn't love him or care for him. They could have still loved one another but couldn't make it work or knew it wouldn't work. Or one loved the other. Regardless, she would still be in pain because as she clearly loves and is devoted to her child and has her best interest at heart, her child's pain, loss and struggle is hers too.

    January 15, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  21. jeddak

    She seems wonderful and you can feel her pain. Beyond that it's her business and not for me to judge. If you can imagine losing someone you cared deeply for it shouldn't be that hard to understand. If you can't I couldn't offer a guess as to why.

    January 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Kalai Mugilan

    They did it to Micheal Jackson too.

    January 14, 2011 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  23. Real World

    I must be to old or to young, or interested in the meaningfull & important things that are taking place on our planet because Heath WHO and the actress, ex girlfriend or something to do with Nightline. Shame on me for wasting time on this.

    January 13, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeddak

      You went to the trouble to bring some negativity into a story about the loss of a loved one for no apparent good reason. If you lose someone (and you will or have already) I hope a stranger shows/show'ed you more compassion that you have.

      January 14, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  24. meandu


    it says for the first time ever nightline was watched by more then watch looser leno koo dave and conan

    January 13, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Heath L.

    I I just upchucked in a trashcan because I couldnt get to the toilet in time. And you think you have it rough.

    January 13, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
  26. hope



    January 13, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Muchacho

    I agree. Who watches nightline? Or anything with Michelle Williams in it?

    January 13, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Hal Apeno

    She voluntarily agreed to the interview, knowing fully well that they're all schemers. Accept the consequences.

    January 13, 2011 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  29. rico

    "I finally learned what the lesson of life is. To learn to give up everything." Isabelle Allende (after a mistake in a Madrid hospital turned her 20 YO daughter permanently comatose).

    January 13, 2011 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
  30. maa

    Regardless if you are seeing each other or even have a child together the loss of someone you were with for so long is unbearable. My ex-husband (we were only divorced a few months) passed away last month and I can tell you that everyday is a struggle to get out of bed, and deal with the reality that he is not here. Our divorce was not because we didn't love each other it's because my ex didn't love himself, and I couldn't love him enough for the both of us. Just because we weren't married anymore doesn't mean I don't feel the loss of his death any less, in some cases I feel it more. I spent 7 years with a man I loved adored and that can't be discounted because we weren't together when he passed.

    I know Michelle Williams will never read this, but I read part of the Nightline interview and just wanted to thank her. When you're young and you lose someone who had their whole life a head of them it's hard to express the loss. I also wanted to thank her for mentioning the book that she read called "The Year Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion.

    January 13, 2011 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Graced

      maa – I'm sorry for your loss. I have to wonder about the people who are so full of venom at the way people are perceiving her – it makes me wonder why they have so much hatred vested in someone who really hasn't done anything wrong. I understand about your divorce – and I think that's pretty much what she went through. She's always said that she loved him deeply, but that his behavior was damaging to not only himself, but her – and at some point would have been to her daughter and she had to protect herself. She has always said that it was his drug addiction and subsequent behavior that caused her to leave him. She did the right thing, but it certainly doesn't mean he wasn't the love of her life. I wish you peace and thank you for your post.

      January 19, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Richard Allen

    regardless if they were no longer seeing each other, when you are together that long and have a child together, even post breakup, there is still love there. She, as I am sure Heath, felt that connection between then well after the breakup not only because they stilled cared for each other, but also because of that child. When Heath died, I am sure she along with his family were the most severely affected. No one knows just how close they were except she and Heath and to assume that they suddenly stopped loving each other because they decided to go their separate ways is asinine.

    January 12, 2011 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • JTD103

      It is also asinine to assume everything you state you are so 'sure' of. Only they know how they felt post breakup. We were commenting on the poorly written story implying that they were together when he died. We never mentioned anything about love, only you did.

      Additionally, what do you mean together for that 'long'? They met in 2005 and he died in 2008, when they were no longer together. Hardly a 'long' relationship.

      January 13, 2011 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
  32. Sweetd

    They weren't even going out when he died. I know she has his kid and is really sad about his death but they were each screwing other folks weren't they? Talk about milking a tragedy "without seeming too" she wasn't even in the guys will, right. So let's not concern ourselves too much with these new crocodile tears.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:44 am | Report abuse |
    • JTD103

      Absolutely spot on Sweetd – the article above actually says 'Williams, who lost Ledger...' He was with one of the Olsen twins that night and he and Williams had broken up months if not year(s) before. She wasn't even in the same city!

      January 12, 2011 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • j

      Wait a second...I have a child and his father and I are not a couple. And if something were to happen to him, I would be devastated. My child would have lost his father. Loosing anyone you care about or have cared about is hard enough. But if that someone is the other parent to the most important person in your life, you would feel that pain with them and for them.

      January 13, 2011 at 7:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Zoe

      I don't think you need to be going out with someone to care deeply for him and grieve over his death. It sounds like he meant a great deal to Michelle.

      January 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rach

      Wow, Sweetd. You sure are a cold person. That's all I can really say about you.

      January 20, 2011 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  33. Jen

    She is lovely, inside and out.


    January 12, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  34. maryann

    I lost the love of my life at age 21 (I am 64) and have never forgotten the pain I felt. however, I married a wonderful man and had 2 children and have lived a very full life. give it time michelle, you have a lovely little girl to rear.

    January 11, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • cat2010

      And how would your husband feel about you referring to another man as the love of your life?
      I mean, it's not like you are an 80 year old who lost her husband of 60 years? You were 21 and that was the love of your life? But the man you are married to and have 2 children with is what? Second best? Watch Bridges of Madison County much? Absurd, you are just idolizing that relationship because he's gone, that's all. Look at what is in front of you and appreciate it.

      January 19, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amanda

      @cat2010. go stick your head in the sand, no one wants to hear you be disrespectful to this woman. Do you have any idea what it is like to lose someone who is your world? By the age of this woman it is safe to guess she lost her love in the war, as so many women of her generation did. How dare you judge her statements, or her devotion to her husband. I hope you never experience the kind of pain that comes from a loss of this magnitude. It truly changes everything about you. Its as if your soul dies too, but after time passes its almost like you are reborn. You just wouldnt understand unless you have been there.

      January 19, 2011 at 11:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • AlienAnessa

      Very well said, Amanda...cat must be having a bad year, needs to find fault with what OTHER people experience, and quite obviously didn't think about what he/she was posting even after clicking Post. maryann was sharing what she felt and still feels after all these years, and she was NOT discounting the life she has now. Can't believe I posted this in the incorrect spot earlier!

      January 31, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Lily Daisy

    Michelle obviously was shaken from the death of Heath. Sounds like she is in the process still of recovering and is sensitive about issues surrouning his death. I hope she gets ongoing support and love from those around her.

    January 10, 2011 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  36. Cosmotologist To The Stars

    i hope shell be ok. she really seens like a wonderful person. hopefully as time passes things will get better for her.

    January 7, 2011 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  37. ldstep

    She must have a new movie coming out.

    January 6, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  38. NoDoubt

    I don't think anyone is going to be too critical after all she's gone through. I hope she gets help in healing because I don't think she's over this at all, and as much as it is painful to lose loved ones (I've lost both of my parents) you have to keep on living, especially if you have children. Chin up, Michelle!

    January 6, 2011 at 7:49 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Elizabeth

    A note to Michelle Williams: I just watched the Nightline interview. I found it to be tender, honest, real, deep & loving. Please, let it be. You were wonderful.

    January 6, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • I.Kelly

      I watched it while it aired and had the same feeling. I was very impressed by her sincerity, wisdom and eloquence. I can see how she may feel raw after having her words spliced from 3 hours in to a segments length but really, it was all beautifully relayed.

      January 6, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lulu

      I agree with Elizabeth. It was a wonderful interview.

      January 15, 2011 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitch

      Will someone please explain this to me!!!!!! They were no longer together – had not been for some time – but she is devastated by his loss. People go on and on about her loss – she was not his WIDOW – she was his EX!!!

      January 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • BMarie

      @Mitch, she may have been his ex but she the mother of his child. I am sure at one point she cared deeply for Heath. Not to mention i am sure she was devistated for thier daughter who will never know her father!

      January 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      @BMarie... very nicely stated! 🙂

      January 21, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Warmcozy

      Agreed. I felt the interview was respectfully presented and showed what a wonderful heart Michelle has.

      January 24, 2011 at 11:28 am | Report abuse |
  40. Bobby G.

    Same here...

    January 6, 2011 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  41. San Jose

    No one watches Nightline. If she would've never said anything to the Daily Beast I would've never heard of the interview.

    January 6, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jango Davis

      I agree. I think the only one who follow nightline and the daily beast are other reporters.

      January 12, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
    • B=Dog

      Nobody watches nightline?

      Take all the viewers for Letterman, Conan, and Leno and add them up... and nightline STILL has more viewers.

      January 12, 2011 at 8:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • markiejoe

      Does not.

      January 12, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • getthefacts

      B=Dog... I call BS. A google search does not back you up. Post your facts.

      January 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike dallas texas

      here we have a prime example why no one should talk to the modern Press. And folks at home should take to heart the old but true saying ,"believe nothing you hear , and half of what you see ". I wish for all of us that the Press would change its ways and return to reporting the facts in context , or do not make a mountain out of a mole hill . thanks mj

      January 14, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • diane West

      if people did not watch the program she would not have done the interview! who cares what she says about heath? they were broken up when he died. they had a daughter together, but both had moved on. the press interviews her like she is a widow. they were BROKEN UP. get over it people.

      January 16, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Casey

      True dat.

      January 18, 2011 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • beejoy

      She talks alot about what SHE has lost but what about the loss of a friend, a lover, and the father of her children. Not once did I hear her say anything about the loss of Ledger.

      January 18, 2011 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • b=dog == bs


      nightline had more viewers, but certainly not more than Letterman, Conan, and Leno combined.

      January 19, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      @B=Dog, if u had just said that Nightline has more viewers than any of the other 3 shows (Letterman, Conan and Leno), you would have been correct. But by saying Nightline has more viewers than the other 3 shows COMBINED made you look totally foolish.


      "Take all the viewers for Letterman, Conan, and Leno and add them up... and nightline STILL has more viewers."

      January 21, 2011 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |

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