Janice Shaw Crouse

Heath Ledger’s depression following the break-up of his relationship with Michelle Williams is just one example of the fact that not even sexy hunks are exempt from broken hearts.

Reports about the tragic death of Heath Ledger include remarks by friends concerning his reaction to the recent break-up of his relationship (accounts differ on whether they were married) with the mother of their daughter, two-year-old Matilda. One source said, “Heath was shattered by his split from Michelle. He became a recluse. He barely slept; he was dealing with terrible mood swings.” Friends say that he became an introvert, “hardly venturing out anymore,” “barely slept” and was obviously “headed in a downward spiral.” One analyst said that “a picture is fast emerging” from friends’ discussions: “he’s been battling some pretty serious demons,” “he lost his grip on life,” both personally and professionally, and he has behaved increasingly in an “unhinged” way. One of his friends saw him at a party after the estrangement from Michelle and said, “It was obvious something awful had happened to him.” The host of a recent party said that he arrived at the event “looking like a homeless” vagrant.

No one can know what was really going on in Heath’s life and his tragic death is likely a tragic accidental overdose of sleeping pills. He is known to have had pneumonia recently and to have been treated for substance abuse problems, including heroin addiction. All of those physical and emotional factors, including a reliance on sleeping pills, would make an accidental overdose plausible. He told friends that he was sleeping only two or three hours a night. He admitted that the psychological demands of his new role as the joker in the upcoming Batman film were exhausting. He said that he couldn’t get his mind to turn off the intensity of his role as a “murderous psychopath.” A critic praising his role in Brokeback Mountain commented that he got into the character so deeply that it was hard to imagine how he would be able to get back out. Heath, though, claimed that after a scene was filmed, “I just walk out the door and I'm back into my regular life.” Critics have compared the “intense, brooding actor” to a young Marlon Brando and James Dean. He seemed headed for stardom and the new Batman movie is expected to be a blockbuster.

Janice Shaw Crouse

Janice Shaw Crouse is a former speechwriter for George H. W. Bush and now political commentator for the Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee.
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