Michelle Williams on Leaving the Home She Shared With Heath Ledger: "How Will He Find Us?"

Michelle Williams has always been one of Hollywood's most private celebrities, especially when it comes to her home life with her 11-year-old daughter, Matilda. The Manchester by the Sea actress has raised her daughter as a single mother since January 2008, when her ex-partner and Matilda's father, Heath Ledger, tragically passed away. In addition to giving heartfelt (and heartbreaking) tidbits about how she's tried to move on from Heath's death and build a normal life for Matilda, Michelle usually stays quiet and out of the spotlight, which is the way she likes it. But in the February issue of WSJ. magazine, which hits shelves on Jan. 28, she gets surprisingly candid about what life was like for her in the months following his death, including her decision to move out of the house they once shared together as a family. See her best quotes below.

  • On leaving the home she shared with Heath: "At that time, I was inconsolable, because I felt, 'How will he be able to to find us?' This is where we lived, and he won't know where we are. And now I can't believe I thought that. Maybe that's what's making me cry is I feel sad for the person who thought he won't be able to locate [us]."
  • On her current living situation: "I got very lucky with this rental building situation. I didn't know anyone there, but we've made friends. It's a modern family. I have a best friend next door, and a grandma and grandpa down the hall. There's Rosie and J.P. — Rosie will see me in the elevator and say, 'You look tired — you need to take better care of yourself' and then bring over a lasagna. And there's Kate and her daughters. There's a building ethos of 'What do you need?' and 'What can I do?'"
  • On getting married: "I've not gotten married because I have not had a person to whom I would — so I have not let my sense of conformity or duty override my instincts."
  • On romance: "It's hard to romanticize romance when you're 36. When you've been a parent for 11 years and you've done it alone, you don't have romantic ideals, because you have a practical understanding that you can do it by yourself. The romantic idea of meeting your person and having a storybook family life that looks like the model you grew up with — that doesn't really exist for me."
  • On being a single parent: "It's a little bit difficult to contend with a feeling of failure for not living up to a standard of normal. Sometimes it can feel alienating; at school functions, there's only two of us single mothers. Everyone else has a partner, so we buddy up. But I have a family; I have the thing you typically get married for. I live in a commune."