Michelle Williams Opens Up About Heath Ledger's Death

Actress tells 'Nightline' she still struggles to 'find meaning' in the death of her 5-year-old daughter's father.

Almost three years after Heath Ledger's death from an accidental drug overdose, former girlfriend Michelle Williams is still trying to make sense of it.

"I've found meanings around the circumstance, but the actual event itself still doesn't ... " she told ABC's "Nightline" about her search to come to terms with the death of the father of her 5-year-old daughter, Matilda. "I can't find a meaning for it. I can find meanings in things and people and relationships that have sprung up and friendships that have strengthened. I can find a lot of meaning in that, but not in why."

It's the first time the "Blue Valentine" star has spoken about Ledger's passing. Ledger was found dead in his New York apartment on January 22, 2008, at age 28 from what police determined was an accidental overdose of a number of prescription medications.

Williams said the year after Ledger's death is kind of a blank for her. "In a strange way, I miss that year, because all those possibilities that existed then are gone," Williams, 30, told the show about the 12 months after Ledger's death.

One of the things she turned to in an attempt to cope with her feelings was Joan Didion's 2005 book "The Year of Magical Thinking," the author's account of the period after the death of her husband, John Gregory Dunne. Williams said the lauded, gripping exploration of grief brought her comfort as she sorted through her feelings.

"It didn't seem unlikely to me that he could walk through a door or could appear behind a bush," Williams said. "It was a year of very magical thinking, and in some ways I'm sad to be moving further and further away from it. ... I know I got kind of obsessed with that for a while, the before and after. A lot of things died. ... There's a line from a book that gave me so much comfort and it said, 'When you've truly lost everything, then at least you can become rich in loss.' "

Williams has been drawing rave reviews for her performance as one half of a disintegrating couple in "Blue Valentine." The film recently won a reprieve from the MPAA, which had originally given the movie a potentially box-office-killing NC-17 rating.