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She is back!
What a exciting news!
What a exciting news!
Dark times united Heath and Gemma
After three years out of the spotlight, Ward will make her international stage debut in March in the Perth Theatre Company's production of The Ugly One.
Performing in front of a live audience is a long way from where the 23-year-old has been since Ledger died in January 2008.
In an exclusive interview with The Sunday Telegraph, Ward said: "I've taken a break from the media spotlight for the last few years and it was something spurred by Heath's death.
"[Heath and I] first met in New York and we were both struggling with things that I won't get into, and we bonded over that.
"I kind of met him at first and said, 'Listen, my mum's living with me right now and I'm kind of going through a hard time and I'm not interested in having a serious relationship with somebody right now', and he was like, 'You know, let's just be there for each other through these hard times we're both going through'.
"And we developed a relationship and we started seeing each other."
That was in November 2007 when Ward had just turned 20.
The two then spent Christmas together in their home town of Perth before returning to New York where Ledger died less than a month later.
"I'm just so grateful I got to meet him and get as close as I did with him," Ward said.
"The time we spent in Perth was incredible because we were both from Perth and it was also a time when it was beautiful in Perth and both our families were there and we met each other's families.
"We were able to not be in any kind of a spotlight and not have to be meeting with people or be hounded by press or anything. We lived in a magical kind of world where we weren't intruded upon."
Ledger's devotion to his toddler daughter, Matilda, is something Ward will always remember.
"He was a devoted, devoted father," she said.
"I'll never forget seeing him with Matilda and the way she looked at him and the way they were together ... she was his whole life. He loved her so much."
Ward will be in Australia for three months for The Ugly One with rehearsals beginning on February 14 before opening night on March 22.
In the play, which centres on the modern obsession with physical beauty, a man's boss - then his wife - convince him that he is ugly and he resorts to plastic surgery.
Ward will also play a mermaid in the upcoming movie Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides with Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush, which is due out on May 19.
Ward plans to combine acting with modelling.
"In terms of me shying away from modelling, I'd like to clarify in some way that I was taking a break from many things in my life and obviously what people in the public see is that I'm pulling away from what is more 'public'," she said.
"I didn't know how long it would take, I didn't know if it would solve anything, but I set out to really focus inside myself."