In a turn of events that truly nobody saw coming, the world learned on Thursday that actor Michelle Williams had secretly wed musician Phil Elverum. The news was revealed in an extensive profile that appears in the September issue of Vanity Fair. The piece also has Williams discussing the highly publicized pay gap controversy that surrounded her 2017 film All the Money in the World and her life as a working mother.
But really, it’s the surprise marriage to Elverum that has everyone talking. Who is he? How did they meet? How are they planning to blend their lives together to create one harmonious union?
For those unfamiliar with his work, Elverum is a musician who performs under the name Mount Eerie. He got his start in a band called The Microphones in the mid-1990s. He also has one daughter, Agathe, from his first marriage to Geneviève Castrée, a Canadian musician and illustrator who died in 2016. Williams’ former partner, actor Heath Ledger, died in 2008; the couple had one daughter, Matilda, who is now 12.
In her Vanity Fair interview, Williams, a famously private person, says that her connection with Elverum has given her a new outlook on life, prompting her to open up more than she has in the past. “Obviously I’ve never once in my life talked about a relationship,” she explains. “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 specifics remain fairly vague (and neither Williams nor Elverum uses social media), but Vanity Fair notes that the two were introduced through mutual friends. Given that Williams’ close friend Busy Philipps posted a photo of her and Elverum together at the March for Our Lives demonstration in March, as E! News noted, one might suspect that Philipps had something to do with it.
Vanity Fair reports that the two were married in front of a small group of friends and family somewhere in the Adirondacks in New York. Additionally, sometime in July, Elverum and Agathe packed up their lives, moving from Anacortes, Washington, to Brooklyn to live with Williams and Matilda.
Williams says she hopes that by disclosing this more personal information about her romantic life, she might provide something valuable to other women.
“I don’t really want to talk about any of it. But there’s that tease, that lure, that’s like, ‘What if this helps somebody? 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, going on to explain what lesson love has taught her thus far in her life. “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.”