Friday, November 21, 2008

Family, friends dispute book's claims that Heath Ledger was mentally ill

From The Courier-Mail in Australia:

The family and friends of late Aussie actor Heath Ledger have described as grossly inaccurate a book which suggests he was mentally ill.

The Hollywood star was found dead in a New York apartment from an accidental drug overdose on January 22 this year.

The Ledgers issued a statement today to distance his immediate family, close friends and associates from Janet Fife-Yeomans book Heath: A Family's Tale, published by Murdoch Books. The book suggests Ledger may have suffered from bipolar disorder just as his estranged uncle Haydn Ledger does, who was interviewed for the book.

"The book contains gross inaccuracies, false allegations (against Kim Ledger) and many incorrect and unsubstantiated comments about Heath in his youth, provided by estranged family members and some people who had little to do with Heath's life," the Ledger family statement said today.

"Further, Fife-Yeomans has no right to infer that we (as Heath's family) in any way authorised this book.

"We have never contributed to or authorised any publications about our son."

Fife-Yeomans, who also works as a journalist at's sister publication The Daily Telegraph, responded by saying: “I stick by everything that I wrote in the book, and I never said it was an authorised biography.”

A rift between Kim Ledger and his brothers Haydn and Mike became apparent following Heath's death, with the pair warning Ledger's former fiancee Michelle Williams and her father Larry not to trust their brother.

Haydn Ledger spoke to the media soon after his nephew's death saying he was concerned about his brother's management of their late grandfather's estate.

Heath's father Kim then called on his brother to stop commenting publicly on issues involving the late actor.

The star's will was written before his daughter Matilda was born to actress Michelle Williams but Heath's father said both would be looked after financially.