Saturday marked 14 years since the tragically young death of Heath Ledger. The Dark Knight star left behind not just a legacy of untapped cinematic potential but also a 2-year-old daughter with Michelle Williams.
Matilda Ledger reportedly has not visited her father’s hometown of Perth since his funeral. But according to Woman’s Day magazine’s Now To Love, the now 16-year-old is ready to spend some time where her father grew up.
Heath’s parents Kim Ledger and Sally Bell, as well as sister Kate Ledger still live in the Western Australian city. Matilda has long lived with her mother in Brooklyn — and over the last couple years they’ve been joined first by Michelle’s husband of just six months Phil Elverum, then by her new husband Thomas Kail. Michelle and Thomas share a one-and-a-half-year-old baby, a half-sibling for Matilda.
It sounds like the teenager is ready to get out and explore more of the world — specifically her dad’s old stomping grounds.
A source told the outlet Kim and Sally used to visit their “Little New Yorker” about once a year, “but with COVID and WA’s strict lockdowns, they haven’t seen Matilda for more than two years” now:
“It’s heartbreaking for the Ledgers, they’re missing so much. But Matilda is a strong-willed young thing, just like her dad, and she’s informed Michelle that she wants to go to Perth.”
Wow. Will Michelle let her go? The source thinks so!
“Michelle is extremely protective of Matilda and has tried so hard to shelter her from public life, but she has accepted Matilda’s wishes.”
Another insider, one close to Michelle this time, told the publication the Dawson’s Creek alum “always knew this day would come, and that she can’t keep Matilda in bubble wrap forever.” They added:
“The fact that she has baby number two to focus on helps keep her mind off anxieties for Matilda.”
Wow. Sounds like it’s an important adventure Matilda needs to undertake. For those wondering if it’s been spurred on by learning the truth about her father, that’s definitely not it. In the age of the internet, how could she not know the truth already, right? A source confirmed to the outlet that the teenager is “fully informed” about her father’s drug overdose:
“As soon as she was old enough, Michelle told her the full story about Heath’s complicated final years of life. She knows how Heath died, and how much he loved her. Not to mention how much his family loves her and that she always has a home with them.”
Another source told the mag that Matilda “can’t wait” to spend a summer on Cottesloe Beach — one of Heath’s favorite places in the entire world, where his mourners reportedly went for a sunset swim after laying him to rest.
And while she’s reportedly excited to get to know her divorced grandparents better — not to mention her extended family, the other children they had in subsequent marriages, one source says it’s Kate Ledger she’s most curious to spend time with:
“Most of all she’s excited to get to know her Auntie Kate a little more. She knows how close Kate and Heath were growing up, and Matilda wants to learn more about her dad as a kid.”
As for the family, they’re looking forward to her coming to visit — though they aren’t getting their hopes up too much, what with travel restrictions still being what they are. But if she can come, they’re happy to have her, says a source close to the family:
“They dearly love Matilda — she is growing into a mini version of the man they lost, which is a comfort to them.”
Is she really Heath’s mini-me? Well, her grandfather did tell The Project a while back:
“She’s got an enormous number of his mannerisms. She’s very inquisitive, she’s got his energy, because Heath never slept from when he was two and Matilda’s like that.”
The source continues:
“They’d do anything to get her over. They got 28 precious years with Heath, while Matilda only got two years that she barely remembers. They feel she deserves every part of him, and that also includes a close bond with his family as she enters adulthood.”
And they aren’t the only ones.
According to a show biz source in Australia, TV producers are already hoping lightning will strike twice and Matilda will have inherited her father’s acting chops. The insider says:
“With Matilda growing up looking more and more like Heath, someone’s idea of getting her on Home And Away for an episode or two, in tribute to her dad, who got his own acting start on the show, has snowballed. If she was back in Oz, there would be no doubt casting bosses would get in touch.”
Well, they can salivate at the sweeps week idea all they like, but we’ve never heard that Matilda has any interest in acting. We guess we’ll have to see if she decides she wants to be a public figure like her famous mom and dad.
[Image via Andy Neitzert/WENN.]