In a tantalizing glimpse of what TMZ might look like if it were run by Wes Anderson, today the indie world spat out its collective rice-milk latte (almond milk’s bad for the environment, you know) with the reveal in a new Vanity Fair profile that Oscar-nominated actress Michelle Williams and Phil Elverum, the songwriter whose musical pseudonyms include Mount Eerie and The Microphones, were secretly married at a private ceremony in the Adirondacks not too long ago.
This is a thing of poignant beauty, as Elverum and Williams share the uniquely devastating experience of losing a partner while parenting a small child. Williams was 27 when her then-partner Heath Ledger died in 2008, leaving Williams to care for their daughter Matilda, who was only two at the time, on her own. Similarly, Elverum was left alone with an 18-month-old daughter when his wife Geneviève Castrée died of pancreatic cancer in 2016. Elverum has since released two albums about the loss, A Crow Looked At Me and Now Only, both of which are gorgeous but completely devastating. In short, it’s lovely to hear that they both have the opportunity to be happy again.
And Williams has some lovely things to say in the profile, in which she says that she shared the news of her marriage in hopes that it might comfort someone else who’s been in her position. (“What if somebody who has always journeyed in this way, who has struggled as much as I struggled, and looked as much as I looked, finds something that helps them?,” she says.) She adds, in a passage we’ll just quote at length:
“I never gave up on love,” she later tells me, saying that she has spent the 10 years since Ledger’s death looking for the kind of “radical acceptance” she felt from him. “I always say to Matilda, ‘Your dad loved me before anybody thought I was talented, or pretty, or had nice clothes.’ ” I can hear her voice crack. She sometimes can’t believe that she’s found this kind of love, at last. “Obviously I’ve never once in my life talked about a relationship,” she says, “but Phil isn’t anyone else. And that’s worth something. Ultimately the way he loves me is the way I want to live my life on the whole. I work to be free inside of the moment. I parent to let Matilda feel free to be herself, and I am finally loved by someone who makes me feel free.”
Mazel tov, you two.