“Thinking about this beautiful soul today,” Watts, 49, posted to Instagram this morning.
“Ten years ago he left this world. He was a true original. Heart always on his sleeve, with the most powerful charisma, strength, humour and talent. I will never forget his gentle spirit.”
Watts, who moved to Australia from England when she was a teenager, and the Perth-born Ledger dated for two years until 2004.
She said in 2011: “He was really a very special soul who made a great impact on my life,” Daily Mail reports. “He was a man completely filled with joy.”
Ledger died on January 22, 2008 in his Manhattan apartment. He was 28.
Before his death, the Australian actor, who’d starred in Brokeback Mountain and The Dark Knight, was having trouble sleeping.
“Last week I probably slept an average of two hours per night,” Ledger told The New York Times in November 2007, just months before his death.
LISTEN: Bec Sparrow and Robin Bailey deep dive on grief, discussing ways to process it and how to move on. Post continues after audio.
He said his then recent work in I’m Not There and as the Batman Joker had left his mind restless. That would see him take medication to assist in helping him sleep, which left the actor in “a stupor, only to wake up an hour later, his mind still racing”.
Ledger left behind a daughter, Matilda Rose, now 12, with American actress Michelle Williams. The pair, who started dating in 2004, had separated in the year before Ledger’s death.