Celebrity

Heath Ledger's Daughter Is All Grown Up And Her Mother Finally Speaks Out About Her Upbringing

YouTube / IMDB

"Katie, Katie, look, it'll be fine, you know, I just need to get some sleep."

Those were Heath Ledger's final words before he was found unconscious in his bed at his Manhattan apartment.

Before he passed away, he was on the phone with his sister, Katie, reassuring her that taking sleeping pills with his chest cold medication would be "fine."

At only 28 years old, the Oscar-winner died of cardiac arrest after abusing six types of prescription medications.

This happened only months before The Dark Knight was set to be released in 2008.

The Australian-born actor is still well-known for his roles in 10 Things I Hate About You, Brokeback Mountain, Monster's Ball, and A Knight's Tale.

While we were all focused on the tragedy that befell the young actor, we completely forgot that he left two very important people in his life behind: Ledger's partner, Michelle Williams, and his daughter, Matilda Rose.

Heath Ledger
ExtraTV / Hello Magazine

Heath's untimely death, the contents of his controversial will, and making sense of the world after this tragedy was a lot to bear for both mother and child.

A Fairy Tale Gone Wrong

In 2004, he met Michelle on the set of Brokeback Mountain, and they started dating. Their romance was described as "love at first sight."

Heath played a gay cowboy who never revealed his true sexuality, and Michelle played his wife.

Cast members knew there was something going on between them when Michelle twisted her knee in one scene and had to be taken to the hospital. Before she left, Heath caressed her back and insisted to go with her.

They confirmed their engagement in 2005, but we didn't hear anything about them getting married. There were even rumors that the couple had a secret wedding, but that wasn't the case.

“I really don’t feel like I need a piece of paper to validate the love I have for her,” Heath explained. “She’s my soul mate.”

That year, the couple welcomed their daughter, Matilda.

Ledger and Williams lived together for almost three years, until the couple decided to call it quits in the summer of 2007.

Not too long after, Heath tragically died, leaving tabloids to come up with stories as to why he abused prescription drugs, while trying to tie that story with Michelle moving out of their apartment...

Some people believed that Heath was addicted to drugs, and that was what caused the young actress to leave him.

Others claimed that it was because the actor was spending more time with his friends and co-stars, making her feel isolated.

All that Michelle revealed was that her ex-partner had sleeping problems, but she never mentioned anything about illegal drug use.

"For as long as I'd known him, he had bouts with insomnia. He had too much energy. His mind was turning, turning, turning – always turning," she told Interview magazine.

After that, his will stirred controversy...

Dispute Over His Final Wishes

Heath Ledger
Ledger's family reads a statement after his death.People Magazine

Matilda was only two years old when her father passed away.

A couple months before Heath died, he filed his will outlining that he wants his daughter to be the one to have access to his money..

The actor's father made a statement that Matilda's mother would also be taken care of, because "that's how Heath would want it to be."

YouTube / Feminéma - WordPress

Apparently Heath also signed a will in 2003, before he met Michelle, which outlined that half of his estate would be given to his parents and the other half to his siblings.

Then rumors about Heath having a secret love child spread like wildfire, despite the fact that these allegations were denied on numerous occasions.

The possible existence of such a child also turned into a huge deal in deciding what would happen to Heath's money.

But then September 2008 came around.

Heath's father revealed that his family agreed to leave $16.3 million of the late actor's fortune to Matilda.

Now, a decade later, Matilda is 12 years old, and shares more than just her father's inheritance...

Growing Up Without A Dad

Recent photos of Matilda, who has just entered her teenage years, have flooded the internet.

Daily Mail

In the documentary I Am Heath Ledger, the actor's sister, Kate, opened up about what her late brother was like and the similarities between him and her niece:

“When Heath was around, she looked so much like him, we used to say ‘It’s Heath in pig tails’. Now everything she does, the way she rides a skateboard, reminds me of Heath."

“She’s got his energy,” Kate revealed to a news outlet in Australia. “Heath never slept from when he was two and Matilda’s like that. She’s just got this ball of energy and she radiates this little aura.”

We usually know a lot about famous celebrity kids, but Matilda Rose has been an exception.

After Heath's death, Michelle left Brooklyn, took some time away from show business, and lived in the country for six years.

She told the New York Post that she had to leave because being in New York was "an intolerable state of existence."

Years later, Michelle got a picture ban for her daughter to prevent media outlets from posting unauthorized images of her child. This was an attempt to give Matilda some sense of "normalcy."

Popsugar / Diply

“If you feel like people are watching you, it’s impossible to have an authentic experience of being alive. There’s a performative aspect and a guardedness, and that’s just death.

I don’t know how to live like that, and I don’t know how to give a life to my child like that,” she told Elle.

Despite growing up with a father, Matilda still radiates the same energy that she did before Heath passed away.

Michelle told Porter magazine that raising her daughter alone has been tough, and it's something that will never feel right.

"In all honesty, for pretty much everything else, I feel like I'm a believer in not fighting circumstances, accepting where you are and where you've been. In pretty much all senses, but one. I would be able to go totally down that line of thinking were it not for Matilda not having her dad. I mean, it just won't ever be right. I watched [Matilda] warm in the sun, in her swimsuit, get on her bicycle and smile and wave as she rode off to go meet her friend. I went back into the house and sobbed because of this incredibly simple moment — common everyday happiness. I really felt like in that moment, like wow, we’ve done it. Not only are we OK, she’s happy. Life has brought us to a place that’s not just surviving, but thriving."

Matilda may not be in the limelight now, but I'm sure if she follows her parent's footsteps she will be just as successful as them.

Whatever she decides to do, we wish her all the best!

Here are 13 more celebrity kids you didn't realize are all grown up.

And let's remember the 9 actors who died before their movie finished filming.  

Moojan has been a writer at Shared for a year. When she's not on the lookout for viral content, she's looking at cute animal photos. Reach her at moojan@shared.com.