Insiders reveal to Vanity Fair details about their last days as a couple.
Like so many handsome, talented stars who die young, Heath Ledger has become the subject of great attention and speculation since his untimely passing in 2008 at the age of 28.
Questions have arisen about whether his overdose was really accidental. Many have asked whether he was an addict. And some have even suggested that he was so depressed over his split with Michelle Williams — the mother of his only child, Matilda — that perhaps he no longer wanted to be alive. Antidepressants Linked To Male Infertility
Friends and colleagues close to the late actor, however, insist that his death really was unintentional. And in the cover story of July's Vanity Fair, entitled "The Last of Heath," they share their thoughts on the end of both his life and his relationship with Williams.
One thing they make very clear from the get-go is that Ledger was not (in their opinion) an addict. Cinematographer Nicola Pecorini, who worked with Ledger on his last film, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, tells Vanity Fair that Ledger used to smoke marijuana regularly, but "went clean as a whistle" when he thought it was becoming an issue. And vocal coach Gerry Grennell, who worked and lived with Ledger during the shooting of The Dark Knight, insists that Ledger didn't even drink. Movie Night: Cheri Is Full Of Sex And Seduction
"Everyone has a different opinion of how he passed away," Grennell tells Vanity Fair. "From my perspective, and knowing him as well as I did, it was a combination of exhaustion, sleeping medication [prescribed for his chronic insomnia]...and perhaps the after effects of the flu. I guess his body just stopped breathing." Sleeping Alone in a King-Size Bed
As for his relationship with Michelle Williams, Terry Gilliam, who directed Ledger in Doctor Parnassus, says that it began to unravel during the Oscar campaign for Brokeback Mountain. "That was the moment when it changed, when he realized 'Uh-oh, we perceive the world differently.' He didn't care about things like those awards."
Ledger did, nonetheless, care about Williams and their daughter. According to Pecorini, "Heath was always blaming himself [for the split], asking 'What did I do wrong?'" Gillian seconds that sentiment, saying that initally during the breakup: "He really thought he could do the right thing. He was trying to be decent and graceful, give her whatever she wanted..." Losing My Husband, Then Learning Of His Infidelity
But apparently, the stress of custody proceedings and lawyers eventually took their toll. And according to Gilliam, Ledger fell apart. "He said, 'Just f--- all of you. I'm not giving Michelle anything.'"
Sadly, his words turned out to be prophetic. When he died, Ledger left behind a will that pre-dated his relationship with Williams and thus, left nothing to her or Matilda. And while his family have made sure that the two have received everything they believe Ledger wanted them to have, there's one giant thing, of course, still missing — and, unfortunately, there's no way to bring him back.
Photo courtesy of Bauer Griffin.