Inside Heath Ledger's daughter Matilda's life away from the limelight

Matilda Ledger’s life away from the limelight: How Michelle Williams has worked hard to ‘keep things real’ while raising her daughter, 17, after the tragic death of her late father Heath

Matilda Ledger may be the daughter of two actors, Australian star Heath and Michelle Williams, but she was raised on a farmhouse away from the limelight.

Heath’s only child, 17, has been rarely seen over the years as her mother, Dawson’s Creek star Michelle, 42, wanted to ‘keep things real’ for her daughter growing up.

The student was recently spotted out-and-about in New York, with Matilda now bearing a striking resemblance to her late father, who tragically died in 2008.

Childhood: Matilda Ledger may be the daughter of two actors, Australian star Heath and Michelle Williams, but she was raised on a farmhouse away from the limelight 

The Dark Knight actor passed away aged 28 after taking a fatal cocktail of drugs, leaving behind his daughter Matilda, who was two years old at the time.

Michelle, who was in a relationship with Heath from 2004 to 2007 after meeting on Brokeback Mountain in 2005, decided to raise Matilda away from the spotlight.

Growing up on a farmhouse

Blue Valentine star Michelle took a hiatus from the spotlight and moved to upstate New York with Matilda after Heath’s tragic death.

Michelle raised her daughter away from the bustle of the inner city as they relocated to a farmhouse in a countryside for six years.

Tragic: The Dark Knight actor passed away aged 28 after taking a fatal cocktail of drugs, leaving behind his daughter Matilda, who was two years old at the time

Moving away: Michelle, who was in a relationship with Heath from 2004 to 2007 after meeting on Brokeback Mountain in 2005, decided to raise Matilda away from the spotlight

She previously said that the move stemmed from her desire to provide ‘a sane home environment’ for her daughter.

She told the New York Post in June 2016: ‘We moved – we left Brooklyn and lived in the country for six years because it was an intolerable state of existence.’ 

Years later, Michelle made the decision to return to the city and bought a property in Brooklyn, where she had resided before the move.

Before her time in the countryside, Michelle and Heath had previously shared a $3.6million townhouse in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn.

Heath said of Brooklyn in 2006: ‘I like everything about Brooklyn. I adore it.’

Stability: Heath’s only child, 17, has been rarely seen over the years as her mother, Dawson’s Creek star Michelle, 42, wanted to ‘keep things real’ for her daughter growing up

‘Keeping things real’ 

Michelle was said to have been determined to ‘keep things real’ for Matilda throughout her childhood, despite her own background as an actress.

In 2015, when Matilda was 10 years old, Heath’s sister Kate Ledger told The Sunday Telegraph that her existence was ‘as normal as possible’.

‘Her existence, although different from most, is as normal as possible in an abnormal world,’ she told the publication.

Her relationship with Heath’s family 

Following Heath’s death his family ensured they stayed connected to his only daughter, as well as his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child, Michelle.

In 2018, Heath’s mother Sally told Us Weekly. ‘We’re going to see [Matilda] in New York next week. So we’ll be there a few days and see how she’s grown.

‘We keep in constant contact with Michelle and Matilda and visit frequently,’

Heath’s sister Kate also discussed her relationship with Matida, and said: ‘I love telling [Matilda] stories about her daddy and how he grew up. I think it’s so important for her to have a good sense of where she comes from in order for her to get to know herself.’

Close: Following Heath’s death his family ensured they stayed connected to his only daughter, as well as his ex-girlfriend and mother of his child, Michelle (Kate pictured with Heath)

Staying off social media 

Heath’s father Kim Ledger previously spoke to the Sun-Herald about Michelle and Matilda, describing the former as ‘very private’.

Both Michelle and Matilda are very tight-lipped about their lives and neither of them have a social media presence.

Michelle tied the knot with theatre director Thomas Kail in 2020, having previously been married to Phil Elverum for a year from 2018-2019.

Michelle and Thomas welcomed their son Hart in 2020 and another baby just a couple of months ago.

Finding balance in life

Earlier this month, Michelle also spoke about finding ‘balance’ between filming movies and juggling motherhood as she gave an insight into raising Matilda and her other two children.

She told Entertainment Weekly that children ‘have to arrive, and they have to be sustained, all of it’.

Loved-up: Michelle tied the knot with theatre director Thomas Kail in 2020, and they welcomed their son Hart in 2020 and another baby just a couple of months ago

‘So I’m continuously searching, because balance isn’t a stable place. Balance means that you’re always adjusting,’ she said.

‘So you have to figure it out because we have to stay in the workforce, even though it often feels like it’s untenable. My heart obviously belongs to my children; they tug at it the most. But I really want to be able to have both.’ 

She also remarked that ‘having kids is really great for’ preventing her from taking her work home with her, particularly when she plays heart-rending roles.

She said: ‘I’m not going to go take something home and pollute my kids’ experience. I think, ultimately, I can remember that it’s not my life, it’s not my pain or my sorrow. It’s something that moves through me and then it moves out of me.’

Balance: This month, Michelle spoke about finding ‘balance’ between filming movies and juggling motherhood as she gave an insight into raising Matilda and her other two children

Inheriting her father’s wealth 

Matilda has inherited her father’s entire estate, amounting to $16.3 million.

In 2003, Heath signed a will which left his fortune to his parents and sisters, two years before his daughter Matilda was born.

Following his death, there was speculation over whether Michelle would file a claim for Matilda to be the sole beneficiary.

However there was no need for her to do so in the end, as Heath’s family signed over the entire estate to Heath’s only daughter.

Harmonious relationship with her mother 

It has been reported that Michelle and Matilda share a very close relationship.

A couple of years ago it was claimed by Michelle that Matilda hadn’t even reached the teenage tantrum stage of life, and they will still remained close.

She said: Matilda hasn’t yet hit those terrible teenage years and seems to have skipped them altogether. Every morning we wake up and I wait to see if the transformation has happened and if it’s turned into the next level I keep hearing about, but we’re not there yet.’

Michelle, who is now married to theatre director Thomas Kail, previously spoke about wanting to give Matilda siblings in an interview with GQ in 2012.

She said: ‘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. But I couldn’t make that happen.’

‘And now that she’s 6 that isn’t even a possibility anymore. So something that was making me feel impatient, that’s been removed. For whatever reason, that’s not our luck, or our path.’

However eight years later, the actress found her happy ending with Thomas and the couple died the knot in 2020.

They went on to have a baby boy later the same year and a second child together in 2022.

Love: Michelle, who is now married to theatre director Thomas Kail, previously spoke about wanting to give Matilda siblings in an interview with GQ in 2012

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