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Michelle Williams: I Love Imagining Life with Heath

02/01/2012 at 01:00 PM ET
Courtesy GQ

Life since the death of Heath Ledger has led Michelle Williams down a road filled with twists and turns — none of which she had ever anticipated.

“Nothing has turned out like I expected to,” the My Week with Marilyn star, 31, tells GQ‘s February issue.

“Some things have been better, and some things have been much, much, much worse.”

With no area of her life left “untouched” by the tragic events, Williams admits the deepest pain arises when she envisions the future of the former couple’s 6-year-old daughter Matilda Rose.

“As hard as certain things have been for me, it’s been harder thinking about how things will be for her,” she says.

“I have a lot of things that she doesn’t, and some of what I have I can give to her — the memories that I have, the objects that I have, the physical reminders that I have, the stories.”

And while she realizes Matilda will never “have any [memories] that are solely” hers, the actress reveals one of her “favorite things to imagine” about Ledger was simply the unknown. “It’s actually one of my favorite places to visit,” she says of the possibility that she and Ledger would have reconciled.

Despite their painful past, Williams became determined to find a partner and expand her family further for Matilda’s sake. Within the past few years, however, the single mother has realized more children are not in the cards — for now.

“I really wanted, and I really expected or imagined, that Matilda would have siblings that were close to her age. I wanted that for her,” she explains.

“But I couldn’t make that happen. And now that she’s 6 that isn’t even a possibility anymore. For whatever reason, that’s not our luck, or our path.”

– Anya Leon

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Showing 21 comments

Dubs on

I can totally relate to this. I have a 5, almost 6 yr old daughter, and I always knew and envisioned that I would have children close in age, because that is how I grew up, with siblings. But her father is a drug addict that didn’t want children in the first place and I stupidly decided to marry (we are split up now). But it does make you sad to think about that, I just try to be thankful what the beautiful daughter that I have, plus she has cousins and friends her age.

Anne on

I am a mom to a son who is my heartbeat, my joy, and my strength. I never knew a love like this existed. I am talking about the love between a mom and her boy. I had seen it before but actually feeling it, experiencing it, there simply are no words. My appreciation that I was chosen to be his mom is simply unmatched. I simply adore him.

I never knew illness would rob me of the life I pictured for us. I never knew it would remove all opportunity of having another child. I always wanted a home full of children. I ache for those children because of my broken dreams, not so much for me, as my son, My heart aches that I never got to give my son, the ultimate gift, of a sibling. He is 21 now, no longer a boy, but forever my boy.

This is what life has taught me. Perspective is everything. I now spend my time with gratitude for the blessing of getting to even be a mom. Many yearn for that, pray for it, beg for it, and never get it. I choose to feel blessed, instead of upset. It is not easy, especially having my illness get in the way.

This article, and her honesty, made me realize something. I am damn lucky to have a family of 3, with an amazing husband and dad included in it. Sometimes I focus on the missing siblings and not on the great dad my son has. Thanks Michelle for the reminder. If you never want to be happy, compare yourself to everyone that has more than you. If you want to be grateful, look at those who have less. Perspective is everything.

Lila on

I never imagined that our daughter would be our only child. But after dealing with infertility and miscarriages, she will be the only one. Like Matilda, she is six years old and just full of life.

I do feel bad sometimes that she won’t have a sibling, however, I also know that she will still have a wonderful life full of love and laughter. At the end of day, she is happy and loved- that is what matters most.

1isOK! on

Don’t assume having a second child either close in age (or not at all) means your children will be “friends” forever. My best friend is like a sister to me. My only brother and I barely speak.

My daughter has a few close friends, boys and girls that are the siblings she will never have. We struggled due to fertility issues (my husband’s) and he wasn’t interested in adoption. Between financial struggles and others we have had, I now see it’s better we had just one child.

Linda on

It is sad. I have one child. She is 7. I always imagined more. I suffered 9 miscarriages in two years attempting to give her at least one sibling. But more to it, I have a longing for a second. The bonus would be a sibling for her. I am too old now and apparently, my attempts had been in vain but I wouldn’t know it unless I tried. The timing was bad, tried after age 40 and for me, it was fruitless. I am blessed to have her. I just hate that she’ll always want for a sister or brother. I had 2 of each – didn’t know how blessed I was growing up and expected she’d have that too. She has a cousin who is an only, but only because her mom never found “the one,” I am married to the same man and it’s not in the cards which makes it a bit tougher to swallow. My advice to anyone is to plan – not saying you will get what you plan, but to be realistic with expectations and see your plan through. Don’t think oh, it’ll happen when I want it to. You aren’t special — I used to think I was. When I had my first all of my pregnancy numbers and test showed numbers of a 20 year old … I took that to mean I had extraordinary eggs for a person my age. Not so. I sort of wish that nurse never commented on that. I thought that gave me as ignorant as it sounds card blanche to take my time. I just hope that I find peace with what I have. Ms. Williams is 31, and there is still time for more children hopefully and perhaps with being older her daughter will have appreciation for any possible future children that will be half-siblings for her. I’ve said enough. But if that’s your will, make it your intention. Hope has no place. As my friend once pointed out, Hope is hell. Still undecided if it’s true.

Mimi on

I would never assume that kids are better off with siblings. They don’t always bond the way you think they will, as adults or children. Plenty of only children are perfectly happy being the apple of their parent(s) eye!

Michelle on

I can only say that my sister who is 8 years older than I am is one of my closest friends. It’s really never like you expect it. My mom was fearful with us being so far apart that we would never get along. But now? I talk to her often and we tell each other everything. It is a blessing.

Anonymous on

I feel for Matilda, I share a similar situation with her. I was only 20 months when my father passed away. While I hear stories of my father and have a few pictures of us together, I have no memories of my father. It is something I have to live with everyday and it is hard because you just want to know them yourself. I feel for Michelle too for having to experience when her daughter cries for her father and wishing he were here but there’s nothing she can do to bring him back.. It’s not an easy thing to live with but just knowing that they loved you is enough to get you through the tough times. I understand Michelle wanting Matilda to have a sibling, I was lucky to have 2 older siblings who could be there for me as well as my mother.

Kat on

Perspective indeed, for Michelle and for these commenters, is much needed! Much of this seems to paint a picture that a life without siblings is some kind of curse. It’s not. There are many, many only children out there, including myself, that are quite healthy and quite happy without siblings. I get to choose my siblings! They may not be blood, but having siblings isn’t a guarantee to a happy and healthy life. My husband has 4 siblings, and none of them are close to each other. In fact, they barely speak at all. And no, it wasn’t because of some trauma, they had a normal life. They apparently just don’t have anything in common in their adult lives. Be happy with what you have, and don’t imagine some tragedy that ISN’T THERE.

meme on

I really don´t think the picture goes with this story

Laura on

I can sympathize with her as well. My husband and I lost a lot of years to infertility. We finally adopted our son, and unfortunately, we have never been able to complete a second adoption due to several failed attempts. Now our son is almost 9….I grieve that I can’t give him a sibling, something I myself have. We’ve had to agree that it is just not meant to be and that we have devoted enough time, money and tears. It’s hard to pack away your dreams, but I guess we all have to do it to some degree in life.

Nina on

Michelle, my heart goes out to you. I know what it’s like to lose the love of your life & have to face the future without him. Please be strong & cherish the precious baby & beautiful memories you & Heath had together. You never know what the future holds, in time you may re~marry & have other children, so please don’t be so hard on yourself. Grieving is such an individual thing. From your story, it is obvious that you loved Heath very much. You will be able to move forward; in time. I promise you. In the meantime..enjoy, love & cherish baby Matilda. You are a great mom!! xx <3

Allie on

I don’t think age differences matter as much as people think they do. I have one brother who is two years older than me and one who is five years younger, and all of three of us (even my brothers, 7 years apart) are as close as you could be. On the flipside, I know people with siblings 2-3 years apart who are not close in the least. It’s partially about personalities but more about how you raise them, IMO. We had an oldest, an only girl and a youngest, so we were all special and never in competition… just a team. We have only become even closer in adulthood.

sarah on

Adoption? There are thousands of children who need homes, loving embraces and encouraging words. Someone to curl up in the bed with, or tell stories with. i ache for all you ladies who can no longer have children by birth, but please, consider adopting a child. <3

Ally on

First thing, my bio sister and I are 3 years apart and could not stand each other until we were adults, and my foster sister and I are 14 years apart, and we adore each other. So an age gap could work to someone’s advantage.

Second, I read this article and thought it would be kind of awesome if Michelle Williams adopted an older child. I know adoption isn’t for everyone, but it would be nice to see a celeb take that step, and she’s just such a strong woman and seems like such a great mom. My little sister came into our lives two weeks before her sixth birthday, and is now 14, and I really wish more people would stop seeing an older child as a “last resort” adoption

guest on

my brother and I are nine years apart, and extremely close. We are each other confidant’s and protectors. My sister-in-law and her sister have a 19 year age difference, and my mom’s best friend and her brother an 18 year difference. My point is that just because it doesn’t happen on your time schedule doesn’t mean it isn’t going to, and if and when it does happen it doesn’t mean that the siblings won’t have a close, meaningful relationship

Kim on

Jesus, have NONE of you ever heard of adoption?? Quit complaining about how you only have one child and give a home to one that really needs one. Better still, act grateful for the one child you were blessed with – some of us will never be that lucky.

J on

Wow Kim, relax…

Allie on

Its strange in a way how in the olden days, people could just pop babies out left, right and centre (no tv in them days my father would say, umm ew lol.) And now we are seeing many more women struggling to conceive. I know there were women who couldn’t conceive in the olden days too, but it wasn’t so widely known. My family were like rabbits lol.. The biggest family we had was my nana and pa who had 13 kids (1 died, which would’ve made it to 14.) Other families of mine would have lots of 8, 9 and 10, and my aunt would’ve had 12, but sadly 2 were identical twins who were both stillborns. But now i see my newest family members struggling to even conceive one, and sometimes you gotta ask yourself, what went wrong from then to now? My mom always blames the food, as she always said, ‘food used to taste so much better in my day, now they put all these toxins, preservatives & God knows what else.’ Who knows for sure though?

Ellarae on

After many years of infertility in my first marriage, I was blessed with my daughter. I, too wished for siblings for her but came to understand the great gift I had, in being given a child. There are many women who can’t conceive. She is a beautiful, smart 20 year old now, and enjoys being a step-sister.

I truly believe that “we get the children we’re supposed to get”, and Michelle is very lucky to have Matilda. If it’s her path, she’ll have either other children biologically or step-children but hopefully she won’t focus on it and will enjoy her time with Matilda.

Amber on

I’m not a parent but the thought of anyone missing out on their child’s life and development is so sad!

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