February 05, 2013 11:00 AM

Courtesy InStyle

Michelle Williams has never been one to look to the outside world for a seal of approval — until now.

In the March issue of InStyle, the actress admits she forever cherishes the unwavering support she has received since going public with her relationship with actor Jason Segel.

“If people are happy about it that makes me feel good because in my head the opposite is often true — that people fault or blame you for things,” Williams, 32, says.

“That’s really painful. You wish they would just want you to be happy, for your kid to be happy, and for you to have a good life and do good work.”

She adds: “Any kind sentiment that the world can feed back, well, I won’t turn it down.”

Along with Matilda Rose, the actress’s daughter with the late Heath Ledger, the couple now share an apartment in Brooklyn, cozy quarters filled with bean bags, book nooks and plenty of priceless pieces.

“I keep things for sentimental reasons. I’ve kept all of Matilda’s baby clothes. even the ones with stains and rips,” Williams says.

And as she creates a space that enables her daughter to always “curl up with a book,” the Oz: The Great and Powerful star finds nothing compares to her happiness as a stay-at-home mom — at least for now.

“I cook and clean a lot these days. I’m in a very domestic cycle and I happen to love it,” Williams explains.

“I feel like this is a real expression of my love for my daughter. Not the only one, but an important one. As a parent, you want the kid to come back to a place where it seems like the walls are made of feather down.”

And while she’s fiercely protective of Matilda, seemingly succeeding in keeping her out of the spotlight, the 7-year-old still manages to catch glimpses of Hollywood’s glitz and glamour — even if it’s not in the most flattering forms.

“The other day I was with my daughter at a newsstand and she turned to me and said, ‘Mommy, why do all those ladies have their boobs out?'” Williams shares. “And I was going to talk about the power dynamic and society, but I just said, ‘Sweetie, I really just don’t know.’ She just wagged her little head.”

From her personal life to her professional success, life has come full circle for Williams — and she’s seizing each moment of sheer happiness that comes her way.

“The other day I was out there all bundled up and the sun was shining and I realized I was smiling in a way I hadn’t in a long time,” she notes. “The roses in my cheeks weren’t from makeup for once. It was a perfect moment.”

— Anya Leon

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