The model tells PEOPLE, "I have only good memories" of her friend Ledger

By Laura Hahn
Updated February 04, 2008 07:20 AM
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Credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage

Helena Christensen – who’s still mourning the loss of her friend Heath Ledger – made one of her first public appearances since the actor’s death, stepping out for Sunday’s Y-3 fashion show.

Although the days since Ledger’s shocking Jan. 22 death have been hard, the supermodel tells PEOPLE she’s coping – thanks, in part, to her 8-year-old son, Mingus.

“Time passes,” she told PEOPLE after the show, part of New York City’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. “It’s doesn’t make it easier, but you try to do the best you can. When you have a child, they kind of bring you back to the moment in a really comforting way.”

Christensen – who was linked to Ledger following his split from Michelle Williams, but always insisted they were just friends – had been on her way to visit the actor when his body was discovered. “I had just left him a message and heard his voice on the machine,” she previously told Women’s Wear Daily, adding that she was “beyond sad.”

Although she couldn’t attend Saturday’s memorial service in L.A., Christensen said she’d heard the ceremony – attended by Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Sienna Miller and Ellen DeGeneres – was “beautiful.”

“Because I had my son, I couldn’t leave,” she said. “But everyone said it was very moving and it was an amazing way to say goodbye to him.”

These days, Christensen is focusing on the happy times she shared with Ledger. “I have only good memories of him,” she added. “Losing any friend is horrific, but he just has this thing about him – this special, enigmatic thing that I have never met in anyone before. That’s what all of his friends are saying. They are totally devastated by losing someone who gave them so much. He gave everyone so much.”