UPDATED 1/7/11: Michelle Williams Cries Foul Over 'Nightline' Interview
Michelle Williams has opened up on a few occasions about the death of her ex, Heath Ledger. However, the actress claims that a December 2010 interview with ABC’s “Nightline” twisted her words about the late actor, taking her comments out of context, an allegation against which ABC News defends itself.
On December 21, the ABC News program aired an interview with Williams, which the network promoted as the actress’ “first network interview since the death three years ago of her former partner and father of her child, Heath Ledger.” Yet, Williams claims the show misrepresented her comments about Heath and his 2008 death – something that she said now makes her more cautious about speaking out any further on the subject.
“When it comes to interviews, it all becomes rather tricky because I don’t want to say something without resonance but then I don’t want to go too far. I just had an experience with ‘Nightline’ that got edited in such a way that seemed as if I did go too far,” Williams said in a new interview with The Daily Beast’s Kevin Sessums. “It was a three-hour interview that was edited in such a way that was devastating to me.”
The actress – who is mother to the couple’s now 5-year-old daughter, Matilda – claimed that the show used her words in a way that wasn’t a true representation of her answers.
“They used those few quotes and the way they edited the piece to sell the interview, and it appeared as if I were breaking some kind of silence and sitting down with the express purpose to discuss something that is very private to me,” Williams told Sessums.
Furthermore, a source close to the actress told Access Hollywood that Williams was not asked any “direct questions” about her ex-boyfriend during the “Nightline” interview, however, it was made to look otherwise.
“She did not talk about Heath in the ‘Nightline’ piece,” the source told Access on Wednesday. “They edited the piece together to make it sound like she was answering specific questions.”
During the interview, which has since been posted on “Nightline’s” website, interviewer Cynthia McFadden appears to talk to Williams about her time working with Heath on “Brokeback Mountain.”
“You fell in love on that movie,” McFadden commented.
“I did. I did. Maybe that’s the secret,” Williams replied in the clip.
Following a brief visual of news footage of Ledger’s death – later ruled as the result of an accidental drug overdose, McFadden asked the actress, “Do you understand why people are so curious?”
“About?” Williams interjected.
“Your tragedy, the tragedy that happened to you,” McFadden inquired.
“Do I understand? Sure, yeah. I do. I relate to it,” the next soundbite in the piece from Michelle followed.
Towards the end of the piece, it appears McFadden asks Williams – who is up for a Golden Globe for her role in the racy new drama “Blue Valentine,” co-starring Ryan Gosling – about different ways she coped in the wake of her personal tragedy.
“I read that you, in the wake of Heath’s death, read ‘The Year of Magical Thinking’ by Joan Didion,” McFadden is shown asking on camera.
“Yeah. In a strange way, I miss that year,” Williams said in the subsequent soundbite. “Because all those possibilities that existed then — are gone. It didn’t seem unlikely to me that he could walk through a door or could appear from behind a bush. It was a year of very magical thinking and in some ways I’m sad to be moving further and further away from it.”
When contacted by Access, a spokesperson for ABC said the interview that aired on “Nightline” was an accurate representation of their interview with the star.
“The interview, like all our work, was done fairly and thoughtfully. She most certainly was asked questions about Heath Ledger, which she answered. Her one-on-one interview lasted one hour, not three,” the ABC spokesperson told Access.
However, as a result of the “Nightline” piece, Williams admitted it’s a larger “struggle” now for her to open up when it comes to the subject of Ledger.
“I withdraw and I say, ‘OK, this subject is off limits if it is going to be convoluted and re-contextualized. I will close myself off as a torn paper might seal up its side or a streak of water stitch itself to silk,’” she concluded.
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