Michelle Williams Talks Her New Marriage, Hollywood Women's Fight For Equal Pay & Power In Wolf Packs

Michelle Williams by Collier Schorr for Vanity Fair Sept 2018 (3).jpg

Actor Michelle Williams covers the September 2018 issue of Vanity Fair Magazine, lensed by Collier Schorr with styling by Samira Nasr. The cover story titled 'I Never Gave Up on Love': Michelle Williams on Her Very Private Wedding and Very Public Fight for Equal Pay' tells you where the interview with Amanda Fortini is moving. 

To update the equal pay discussion consummated after the Vanity Fair interview went to press, Michelle Williams will receive the same salary as Sam Rockwell on a new FX series about director-choreographer Bob Fosse and his dancer-muse-third wife Gwen Verdon. 

Williams inherited the queen for a day crown for unequal pay in January 2018, when headlines confirmed that she made less than $1,000 for her 'All the Money in the World' re-shoots (post bad boy revelations about Kevin Spacey, whose role was replaced by Christopher lummer , while her co-star, Mark Wahlberg, made $1.5 million. The shocking news of the incredible pay disparity between two successful actor broke  in the midst of the Time’s Up awards season. The outcry was so intense that it inspired Wahlberg and the agency that represents both actors, WME, to donate fees to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund.

'A private humiliation became a public turning point."~ Michelle Williams

Fortini picks up the story for the September issue:

“You feel totally de-valued,” she (Williams) says, when I ask whether she was enraged to learn of the money Wahlberg received. Like everyone else, she read it in the paper. “But that also chimes in with pretty much every other experience you’ve had in your workplace, so you just learn to swallow it.” She speaks deliberately, often closing her eyes as she enunciates, in what I will come to recognize as her meticulous, clear, and thoughtful manner, as though each word is put through a process of inspection. She tells me that the ultimate outcome pleased her, in that it sparked a cultural conversation and will eventually, she hopes, bring tangible change. “A private humiliation,” she says, “became a public turning point.”

Moving from the professional to the personal, Williams talks about her recent marriage to American indie musician Phil Elverum earlier this month in the rural Adirondacks region of upstate New York. Williams fled from Brooklyn to upstate New York with their daughter Matilda after the death of her former partner Heath Leger a decade ago. The couple ended their three-year romance a few months before Leger's 2008 death at age 28 of an accidental prescription drugs overdose.

The fiercely private Williams describes her relationship with Elverum, whose first wife died of pancreatic cancer, as "very sacred, very special."

"I never gave up on love," she said. "I always say to Matilda, 'Your dad loved me before anybody thought I was talented, or pretty, or had nice clothes.' Obviously I've never once in my life talked about a relationship but Phil isn't anyone else."

Williams spoke of how she and Matilda were hounded relentlessly by media in the months after Ledger's death.

"I'll never forget going to the post office and seeing a sign hung on the wall for anyone with information about myself and my daughter, to please call this number. Um, so I took that down," she told Vanity Fair.

“Single-parenting,” the Montana native reflects, can feel like life is held together by “a thread and a paper clip.”

Returning to the topic of Time's Up and unequal pay for women across all industries, Williams speaks of a different kind of family tie and her new respect for wolf packs:

For her, what resonates from the experience is the power generated by women banding together. “I was one woman by myself,” she says, “and I couldn’t do anything about it. But in the wolf pack—the phrase Abby Wambach uses—things are possible. And that’s really what it took: somebody who was at the head of the pack, Jessica Chastain, pulling me up with her, and then all these other women surrounding me, teaching me.” Says Chastain, “No one should have to step out onto a limb on their own. We are all here to share the weight. It’s easy to label one actress difficult, harder to label a group.”