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Michelle Williams says 'Succession' star Jeremy Strong helped heal daughter's 'broken heart' after Heath Ledger's death

Michelle Williams defended Jeremy Strong, five months after the Succession star's controversial New Yorker profile. Williams opened up to Variety about her decades-long friendship with Strong, explaining how he was instrumental in helping her family heal after Heath Ledger's death. In the wide-ranging interview, Williams also confirmed she's expecting her third child.

Williams and Strong met in 2004 while acting at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. The Dawson's Creek alum began dating Ledger around the same time. They were together for three years and welcomed daughter Matilda before Ledger's death in 2008. Shortly thereafter Ledger's, Strong moved into Williams's home, along with her sister and another friend, as Matilda was just 2.

Michelle Williams reveals how Succession star Jeremy Strong was there for her and Matilda after Heath Ledger's death
Michelle Williams reveals how Succession star Jeremy Strong was there for her and daughter Matilda after Heath Ledger's death. (Photos: Getty Images)

"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," Williams, 41, explained, noting that Strong spent hours pretending he was a pony and let Matilda ride on his back.

Strong hardly came across as silly in a December profile in the New Yorker, which highlighted his intense, Method acting approach that sometimes ruffled feathers of his co-stars. It's clear Williams, who said the article was difficult to read, wanted to paint a different picture of the Emmy winner.

"[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 upon it, because hers did," Williams added.

Her family is now expanding. The actress revealed she's expecting her second child with husband director Thomas Kail. The two worked together on Fosse/Verdon and Matilda, now 16, reportedly played matchmaker.

"It's totally joyous," Williams told Variety. "As the years go on, you sort of wonder what they might hold for you or not hold for you. It's exciting to discover that something you want again and again is available one more time. That good fortune is not lost on me or my family."

Williams gave birth to son Hart, nearly 2, during lockdown.

"It was a reminder that life goes on," she said. "The world we brought a baby into is not the world we thought we were bringing a baby into, but the baby is ignorant of that. He experiences the unmitigated joy of discovery and the happiness of a loving home."

MORE: Michelle Williams reveals she's pregnant