Love isn’t always perfect. In fact, it can be incredibly messy. Such was the case for Michelle Williams and Thomas Kail who took everyone by surprise when, in December 2019, they announced that they were engaged… and expecting their first child together. 

Instantly, the couple made headlines. It wasn’t just their happy news that got people talking, however. Countless critics began dissecting and questioning the timing of Williams and Kail’s seemingly sudden love story. Throughout it all, the couple has kept quiet on the matter, refusing to justify their love — a valuable lesson for anyone experiencing negative feedback surrounding their relationship.

Here’s what we can learn from Michelle Williams and Thomas Kail’s top-secret relationship:

Following their huge announcement in December 2019, Michelle Williams and Thomas Kail made their red carpet debut at the Golden Globes on January 5, 2020.

While there, they did what they do best: they kept quiet. It wasn’t until Williams took home the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Limited Series that she acknowledged her new beau publicly. “Tommy and Matilda, I can’t wait to come home to you,” she declared during her acceptance speech.

(Matilda is her daughter with late ex-boyfriend Heath Ledger.)

Given the couple’s unwillingness to open up about their relationship, the media were left scrambling to learn about Kail on their own. As it turns out, even though you might not recognize his name, Kail is a successful artist in his own right.

In 2008, he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Direction of a Musical for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights and, in 2016, he won that very award for directing the Broadway smash hit Hamilton. He’s also taken home an Emmy Award for directing Grease: Live. 

In fact, it’s his close relationship with Lin-Manuel Miranda that appears to have led him to Williams. Although they haven’t confirmed it, it seems Williams and Kail met for the first time on the set of FX’s Fosse/Verdon.

The eight-episode miniseries, which starred Sam Rockwell as famed dancer Bob Fosse and Williams as his first wife, Gwen Verdon, was actually co-produced by Kail and Miranda. Kail also directed the show.  

It’s easy to see how Williams and Kail could have hit it off instantly — they’re both successful, artistic, award-winning individuals working in Hollywood — but theirs was not a smooth courtship.

Moving on from a harrowing loss

In January 2008, Michelle, as well as the rest of the world, suffered a terrible blow when Heath Ledger died after a drug overdose. While they had been broken up at the time, she still had deep feelings for the father of her daughter Matilda.

“Every time I really miss him … I just look at her,” Michelle told US Magazine.

However, his death threw Michelle under the spotlight, as the media was intent on knowing how she was grieving. Evidently, this made the whole process even more difficult.

It was unmanageable to be stalked like that, every moment of the day. So I left, in a desire to create a sane home environment.

Michelle Williams to US Magazine

It is no wonder that she has decided to keep her personal life more private, after suffering the harassment of the media at such a difficult and delicate time in her life.

Sometimes, things don’t start out perfect 

When Williams and Kail first met (according to The Cut, Fosse/Verdon began filming in November 2018), they were both very much not single. In fact, they were both married. While Kail had been with actress Angela Christian since 2016, Williams had only recently said “I do” to songwriter Phil Elverum in July 2018. 

Just as the show premiered in April 2019, Williams revealed that she had split from Elverum after less than a year of marriage. As a source told CNN, “Michelle and Phil separated at the beginning of the year. It was an amicable split and they remain friends.” 

Meanwhile, another source told People that they drifted apart due to timing. “She has too many responsibilities and jumped quickly into a permanent relationship without giving it a chance to work into something over time,” said the source. “There is a good bond between them, no animosity. It just didn’t work out at this point.”

If that was the case, how could it be that Williams was engaged to Kail just a few months later?

You can’t always control the timing of a new connection

As Williams filed for divorce from Elverum, Kail split from his wife. After that, it didn’t take long for the co-workers to become much more than that. As one source told E! News, Williams “fell fast and hard for Thomas. They are very in love and excited about their future together and having a family.” Another insider told People, “Michelle fell in love. She is happy and fulfilled and ready for another child.” 

It’s these strong feelings that likely helped the pair navigate their imperfect beginning. As one unnamed source admitted to Us Weekly, “It’s messy behind the scenes.” And their situation wasn’t helped by the rumor mill pondering about possible infidelity on both sides.

Rather than listening to outsiders, Williams and Kail decided to shut out the noise and focus on themselves, and their future. It’s this determination that has undoubtedly played a major role in their ability to work past the messiness.

After all, you can’t control the timing of all of life’s events — no matter how much you’d like to. People come in and out of your life at different moments, and their timing is not always the most convenient. All you can do is decide whether or not you’re going to roll with the punches. Clearly, Williams and Kail chose to do just that.

Don’t allow yourself to settle for less

When Williams and Elverum first got together, the actress was sure he was The One. As she told Vanity Fair in 2018, “The way he loves me is the way I want to live my life on the whole.” So how could it be that she called off their relationship so soon after their nuptials?

It probably had something due with her refusal to settle. As the actress revealed in that very same interview, the biggest lesson she’s learned in love is to never 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.

Michelle Williams

Admitting her personal life has never been smooth, she proclaimed, “I never gave up on love.” And it’s clear that the latest setback (her divorce from Elverum) wouldn’t change that either.

When you believe in the importance (and the possibility) of love, nothing can turn you off the notion. It’s that unfaltering belief that can help you get up when you’re knocked down; stop you from approaching new relationships with a tainted outlook; and make you follow your heart, even when the timing of a new connection seems “messy”. Because if there’s one thing love will always be, it’s unpredictable.  

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