GQ’s Best Actress: Michelle Williams

If you just want to stare at more melty-hot photos of the soon-to-be-three-time Oscar nominee and GQ’s Feb 2012 cover subject, click here. (And no worries. We get it.) But if you’re as infatuated with Williams as we are, we highly recommend GQ correspondent Chris Heath's remarkable profile—one of the most honest and unusual encounters between a reporter and a subject that we've read in a long while. The “celebrity profile” is easily demeaned; this piece makes a case for how it can still be special. Read the whole thing here, featuring Michelle on her rough teenage years, being a mother, being sexy, and living without Heath Ledger. Below, the opening two paragraphs.

Here is what happens in this article: I meet with Michelle Williams on three days in two different cities over a bit more than a week. Much does not go as either of us expects. On the first day, we mainly talk about her youth, and I make her cry. On the second, we mainly talk about her becoming Marilyn Monroe. This is the only dry-eyed meeting. (Unless—quite possible—I was too insensitive to notice.) On the third, we mainly talk about her life with, and without, Heath Ledger. At the end of the third day, we walk around a park in the dark. At the end of the second day, we tidy up the leftovers of her daughter’s birthday cupcakes. At the end of the first day, she leaves in tears, her parting words: “That was really awful.”

That’s about all. There’s also a moment at the very end of the article that could be taken as an atmospheric, ambivalent allegory about the chasing of dreams, but is probably just a brief account of a long hike. The rest is taken up with all that kind of stuff that people sometimes say when they’re asked enough questions. If any of it breaks your heart, it was probably already a little broken to begin with.

[Photographs by Michael Thompson]