Who is Matilda Ledger?
Matilda Ledger is the daughter of Michelle Williams and late Heath Ledger. His father, who died at the very young age of 28 from a prescribed drug overdose, is an Oscar-winning actor who is best remembered for his exceptional acting in films such as '10 Things I Hate About You', 'The Patriot', 'Brokeback Mountain', and 'The Dark Knight'. Her mother is a four times Oscar nominated actress known for movies like 'Brokeback Mountain', 'Blue Valentine', 'Shutter Island', 'My Week with Marilyn', 'Oz the Great and Powerful', and 'Manchester by the Sea'. Matilda was featured on television for the first time as an infant on the episode '20 Cutest Celebrity Babies' of the series 'VH1: All Access' in 2006. Her father's love for her is a prominent theme of the 2017 documentary, 'I am Heath Ledger', based on the deceased actor's life.
Rise to Stardom
Being a celebrity kid, Matilda Ledger has grown up under the curious eyes of the paparazzi. The fact that her father died under unnatural circumstances when she was only two did not help her mother in keeping her away from the media. She was especially dragged into all the speculations and conspiracy theories behind her father's death due to the controversy regarding her status in his will. However, soon after Heath's death, her mother requested the media to allow them to grieve privately, and did her best to keep her out of the spotlight.
Interestingly, over the past few years, she had made regular appearances on the pages of tabloids due to her likeness to her late father. In fact, in her statement following the death of Heath, Michelle had recounted how she was the spitting image of her father. In the documentary on his life, Heath's sister Kate mentioned that "everything she does... the way she rides a skateboard... reminds me of Heath". Even ten years after her father's death, the press takes every opportunity to gush over how closely the 12-year-old resembles Heath.
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Controversies & Scandals
At the age of two years, shortly after the death of her father Heath Ledger in 2008, Matilda Ledger became the center of a controversy regarding her dead father's will, which was prepared back in 2003, and as such did not include her or her mother, Michelle Williams, whom Ledger began dating in 2004. Soon after his death, following press reports about his will and his daughter's access to his financial legacy, Heath’s father Kim Ledger told the media that he considered the financial well-being of his granddaughter an "absolute priority", adding that her mother, Michelle, has been "an integral part of our family". He also promised that they will be taken care of, as that is what his late son would have wanted. Kim later stated that the family had gifted Heath's multi-million dollar estate to Matilda.
Matilda Rose Ledger was born on October 28, 2005 in New York City, New York to actors Michelle Williams and late Heath Ledger. She was born three months before the release of 'Brokeback Mountain', on the set of which film her parents fell in love with each other. They reportedly first met on the set of 'Ned Kelly' in 2003. She is the granddaughter of Kim Ledger and Sally Bell. She has an aunt named Kate Ledger.
Her father passed away on January 22, 2008 following an overdose of prescription drugs that he was taking for several illnesses. At the time of his death, he and Michelle were not romantically involved and had separated amicably. Matilda’s name means '(The) Militant Rose'. Jake Gyllenhaal, costar of Michelle and Heath in 'Brokeback Mountain', and Busy Philipps, whom Michelle met on the set of 'Dawson's Creek' in 2001, are her godparents.
Matilda Ledger's father, who, apart from being an extraordinary actor, was also interested in other creative pursuits, including photography, chess and music, and had founded the record label, Masses Music, with American singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ben Harper. One month prior to her birth, her father had sent a grand piano as a gift to his longtime friend and partner Ben and asked him to compose a lullaby which he would sing to her once she was born. The song, 'Happy Ever After In Your Eyes', told from the perspective of a doting father, nicely captured the love he had for his little daughter. The detail was revealed by Ben in the 2017 documentary, 'I am Heath Ledger'. It was reported that she will be allowed to watch the documentary once her mother Michelle Williams approves of the work done by executive producer Matt Amato. According to Matt, 11 years old Matilda had become very much curious about her late father at the time.