Surprise! Michelle Williams secretly marries Phil Elverum, a musician nobody knew she was dating

Not only does Michelle Williams have a new man in her life, but — surprise! — they’re already married.

The actress broke the news to Vanity Fair that she secretly wed singer-songwriter Phil Elverum in the Adirondacks. Williams, who has a home in upstate New York, said she had been introduced to him by a mutual friend. Only a handful of their friends — presumably including BFF Busy Philipps — and their two daughters attended the ceremony.

In a narrative that is sure to tug at the heartstrings, Elverum, an indie musician performing under the name Mount Eerie, also lost a partner, leaving him to raise the couple’s young child alone. His late wife, Geneviève Castrée, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2015, four months after the birth of their daughter and died 13 month later. Williams’s own heartbreak is well-known — her Brokeback Mountain co-star Heath Ledger, who’s the father of Williams’s 12-year-old daughter, Matilda, died of an accidental drug overdose in 2008.

“I never gave up on love,” the star of films including My Week with Marilyn and Manchester by the Sea told the magazine about making it official with Elverum. She said she was always seeking the “radical acceptance” she felt from Ledger. “I always say to Matilda, ‘Your dad loved me before anybody thought I was talented, or pretty, or had nice clothes.’”

Williams described her relationship with Elverum, who has relocated from Washington state to Brooklyn, where Williams has a home, as “very sacred and very special.” She continued: “Obviously, I’ve never once in my life talked about a relationship, but Phil isn’t anyone else. 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.”

The 37-year-old went on to say that she hopes her happy ending inspires others who have dealt with loss. “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 said. She also added some wisdom she learned along the way: “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.”

A lot of people have been rooting for Williams to have a happy ending after watching her persevere amid such a public loss. She’s had several high-profile partners since the Australian actor died (Michelle and Heath had actually split right before his death), including Jason Segel and Spike Jonze. She was also rumored to be dating her Blue Valentine co-star Ryan Gosling at one time.

In recent years, she’s been linked to men who aren’t in showbiz: artist Dustin Yellin, novelist Jonathan Safran Foer, and New York financial consultant Andrew Youmans. Making her supersecret nuptials even more of a jaw-dropper is the fact that in January there were reports that Williams was engaged to Youmans. Those reports were unconfirmed — as she noted, she never talks about relationships — but some PDA pics and a heart-shaped diamond ring made for good tabloid fodder.

Williams’s romance with Elverum was never on anybody’s radar, which could be why it was able to flourish.

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Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Matilda
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Heath Ledger, Michelle Williams, Matilda
Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams at the "Vanity Fair" OscarS Party. (West Hollywood, CA)
NEW YORK - JANUARY 23: Names and foot imprints of Heath Ledgers and Michelle WIlliams's baby Matilda, and of family dog Hugo are seen in front of the house where Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams lived together on January 23, 2008 in the Brooklyn borough, New York City. Ledger, died January 22, 2008 at the age of 28. (Photoby Brad Barket/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 27: (L-R) Matilda Ledger and Michelle Williams are seen on October 27, 2009 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Christopher Peterson/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
BROOKLYN - MAY 23: (L-R) Michelle Williams and Matilda Ledger sighting on May 23, 2009 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Christopher Peterson/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK - OCTOBER 27: (L-R) Matilda Ledger and Michelle Williams are seen on October 27, 2009 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Christopher Peterson/BuzzFoto/FilmMagic)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 22: Actor Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams attend the Australian Premier of Brokeback mountain at the Cinema Paris on the 13 January 2006 in Sydney, Australia. The Australian actor was found dead on his hotel floor in New York on January 22, 2008. (Photo by Mike Flokis/Getty Images)
Michelle Williams, nominee Best Female Lead for Land of Plenty, and Heath Ledger (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./WireImage)
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