Michelle Williams Opens Up About Jeremy Strong's Special Role In Her Life After Heath Ledger's Death

Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger's relationship had already ended "The Dark Knight" star's death sent shockwaves across the globe. Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment on January 22, 2008, at the age of 28, The New York Times reported. He died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs that included painkillers and meds to treat anxiety and insomnia. Ledger was open about his struggles with the latter, revealing how he barely slept while portraying the Joker in "The Dark Knight" during a November 2007 interview with The New York Times. "Last week I probably slept an average of two hours a night," he said. "I couldn't stop thinking. My body was exhausted, and my mind was still going."

But Ledger reportedly didn't just rely on legal substances. The Oscar winner is also said to have used cocaine, a habit that created issues between him and Williams, according to The Telegraph. After meeting on the set of "Brokeback Mountain" in 2004, Williams and Ledger welcomed Matilda in October 2005, People reported. Williams and Ledger ended their three-year relationship in September 2007, Us Weekly noted. 

Even though Williams loved Ledger, she wanted to raise her child in a healthy environment, a source told Access Hollywood. "He had a lifestyle that really wasn't — at least in Michelle William's eyes — compatible with raising a child and continuing in that relationship." But raising a child without a father is something else entirely — and Williams couldn't have done it without Jeremy Strong.

Jeremy Strong moved in with Michelle Williams to help with Matilda

Jeremy Strong was there unconditionally for Michelle Williams after Heath Ledger died. The "Succession" star even moved in with Williams, along with Williams's sister and another friend, to help the "Venom" actor navigate the difficult waters. "Jeremy was serious enough to hold the weight of a child's broken heart and sensitive enough to understand how to approach [her] through play and games and silliness," she told Variety. Williams was defending her longtime friend amid the backlash he has received over his method acting techniques, seen as extreme by many, which were explored in a December 2021 feature in The New Yorker.

The piece described how Strong made a stunt coordinator beat him while shooting the protest scenes in "The Trial of the Chicago 7" in 2020 and requested that real tear gas was used against him. "All I know is, he crosses the Rubicon," said Robert Downey Jr., who worked with Strong on "The Judge." But Williams disagrees that Strong uses his method to self-indulge. "He takes his work as seriously as he takes his play," she told Variety.

His commitment also extends to his personal life, which Strong demonstrated when he put his life on pause to help a grieving friend. "[Matilda] didn't grow up with her father but she grew up with her Jeremy and we were changed by his ability to play as though his life depended on it," Williams said, "because hers did."