Michelle Williams confides about Heath Ledger’s death while posing as Marilyn Monroe


In January 2008, Heath Ledger died from an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.

“For a really long time, I couldn’t stop touching people’s faces. I was like, ‘Look at you. You move. You’re here.’ It all just seemed so fleeting, and I wanted to hold on to it,” Michelle remembered.

As for how she faced the situation, she said: “Three years ago, it felt like we didn’t have anything, and now my life, our life, has kind of repaired itself.”

“Look, it’s not a perfectly operating system, there are holes and dips and electrical storms, but the basics are intact. [The death has] changed how I see the world and how I interact on a daily basis. It’s changed the parent I am. It’s changed the friend I am.”

“It’s changed the kind of work that I really want to do. It’s become the lens through which I see life, that it’s all impermanent.”


The actress embodies the glamorous cinema icon of the 50s, Marilyn Monroe, in the movie My Week with Marilyn, scheduled for release on November 4 in U.S. theaters.

Slipping into the skin of the sex symbol was definitely a challenge. For this role Michelle said she extensively studied Marilyn’s poses and gestures in order to get as close to the character as possible.

The 31-year-old also reveals she had to gain weight to fit in the role.

“Unfortunately, it went right to my face,” she said. “So at some point it became a question of, Do I want my face to look like Marilyn Monroe’s or my hips?”

“It felt like being reborn. It felt like breaking my body and remaking it in her image, learning how she walked and talked and held her head. None of that existed in my physical memory, and I knew I needed as much time as possible to make it part of me.”

This issue of Vogue hits newsstands in the U.S. on September 20.