The actress recalled the months following Heath's accidental overdose in 2008, sharing that the Succession star was an incredible source of support for her family as they mourned: "Jeremy was serious enough to hold the weight of a child's broken heart and sensitive enough to understand how to approach [her] through play and games and silliness," she told Variety. "[Matilda] didn't grow up with her father but she grew up with her Jeremy and we were changed by his ability to play as though his life depended on it, because hers did."
Michelle said that this dedication is what makes Jeremy a great actor, explaining, "He takes his work as seriously as he takes his play."
In December, a divisive now-viral New Yorker profile on Jeremy detailed his sometimes extreme approach to acting. Michelle—who met Jeremy in 2004 when they were both performing at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts—spoke up in defense of the actor after the story was published. Now, though she typically does not discuss the time after Heath's death, she says, "I wanted to share it, because it takes a very special person to play with a child the way that Jeremy did."
The profile also mentioned Jeremy's closet full of "incongruously high-end clothes," which the actor wore till they in "shreds," according to the profile.
Michelle said that the description was technically true but was missing important context. "He had only one sweater and two t-shirts and they were torn at the neck because he would play ponies with my daughter and let her ride on his back and use his clothing as reins," she explained. "So he walked around with his beautiful things ruined and he never thought twice about it and he never told her to stop."
The Fosse/Verdon actress isn't the only person to support the Emmy and Golden Globe winner's dedication to the craft. Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Aaron Sorkin expressed admiration for the actor after the profile's publication.
Chastain, who starred opposite Jeremy in two movies, criticized the profile writer, Michael Schulman, for being biased, writing, "Ive known Jeremy Strong for 20yrs & worked with him on 2 films. Hes a lovely person. Very inspiring & passionate about his work. The profile that came out on him was incredibly one sided. Don't believe everything you read folks."
She added, "Snark sells but maybe its time we move beyond it."
Jeremy's Succession co-star Brian Cox has said that people warned the profile may backfire and admitted that it's sometimes "exhausting" to work alongside him. "I think that he puts himself in vulnerable positions and with that New Yorker article," Brian said, "he placed himself in a very, very vulnerable position, and I think that he didn't need to do that."
It certainly taught Michelle to be careful about what she says. She told Variety, "Now when I'm rambling on about my work or my process, I wonder if that should stay in the vault."