The couple "had an early spiritual connection that she has not experienced since Heath," says source

By Julie Jordan
August 01, 2018 10:54 AM
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Michelle Williams couldn’t contain her happiness.

Despite being notoriously private about her personal life, the actress revealed to Vanity Fair magazine in their latest cover story that she is in fact a married woman. Williams wed indie musician Phil Elverum, 40, in a ceremony in the Adirondacks. “She is very happy and she deserves it,” a source tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

The two also share heartbreaking loss. Williams fell for her Brokeback Mountain costar Heath Ledger in 2005 and had their daughter, Matilda, before splitting in 2007. Five months later, the actor died of a prescription-drug overdose.

For more on Michelle Williams secret marriage, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday

Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger
Evan Agnostini/Getty

Elverum’s wife, illustrator and musician Geneviève Castrée, was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer just after giving birth to their daughter and died in 2016 at age 35. Williams called her and
Elverum’s courtship “very sacred and special.”

The couple, who met through a mutual friend, now live with their daughters at Williams’s home in Brooklyn. “Michelle and Phil had an early spiritual connection that she has not experienced since Heath,” says the source. “They share some of life’s most trying moments with deaths of loved ones and have related on many levels.”

Williams told Vanity Fair she was hopeful her journey could help others. “I don’t really want to talk about any of it,” she said. “But what if this helps somebody? 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 continued: “Don’t settle. Don’t settle for something that feels like a prison, or is hard, or hurts you. If it doesn’t feel like love, it’s not love.”