"Don't settle. Don't settle for something that feels like a prison or is hard, or hurts you," Williams told Vanity Fair in 2018 about finding love

By Alexia Fernandez
April 19, 2019 05:39 PM
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Michelle Williams has split from her husband, musician Phil Elverum, after less than a year of marriage — but the star has always kept a positive outlook on love.

A source confirmed the news to PEOPLE on Friday that Williams, 38, and Elverum, 40, separated earlier this year, saying, “It was an amicable split and they remain friends.”

Williams revealed they married in a quiet ceremony during an interview with Vanity Fair in July 2018. The actress, who has 12-year-old daughter Matilda with the late Heath Ledger, uncharacteristically opened up about waiting for love.

“I never gave up on love,” the Fosse/Verdon star said about moving on after Ledger died in 2008. “I always say to Matilda, ‘Your dad loved me before anybody thought I was talented, or pretty, or had nice clothes.'”

Williams met Ledger on the set of their film Brokeback Mountain. They welcomed their daughter in 2005 before splitting in 2007. Five months later, Ledger died of a prescription drug overdose.

Michelle Williams and Heath Ledger
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Michelle Williams and Phil Elverum
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After his death, the actress dated actor Jason Segel, Spike Jonze and financial consultant Andrew Youmans. Williams told Vanity Fair her relationship with Elverum gave her something she was searching for.

“Obviously I’ve never once in my life talked about a relationship, but Phil isn’t just anyone else,” she said. “And that’s worth something. Ultimately the way he loves me is the way I want to live my life on the whole. I work to be free inside of the moment. I parent to let Matilda feel free to be herself, and I am finally loved by someone who makes me feel free.”

She continued, “This kind of freedom, it’s the thing that I look for. It’s been a theme in my life. It’s the thing that I experience in Montana, the thing that I experience onstage, the thing that I get in my work in between ‘action’ and ‘cut.'”

Michelle Williams
Mike Coppola/Getty

As for keeping her personal life private, Williams said she was more keen on helping others who had experienced grief in their lives.

“I don’t really want to talk about any of it. But what if this helps somebody?” she said. “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.”