Heath Ledger’s family responds to rumours that playing The Joker left him depressed

The actor died in January 2008 just months after completing his Batman role.

Heath Ledger’s family has dismissed suggestions that playing The Joker affected his mental health.

The actor died on January 22, 2008 of an accidental intoxication from prescription drugs. A few months earlier, he had finished filming his role as The Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight. He later won a slew of posthumous awards for his performance, including an Oscar.

Persistent rumours have suggested that going “method” for the role triggered a bout of insomnia which ultimately led to Ledger taking the medication thatcaused his death. However, the actor’s sister Kate Ledger denied this at the premiere of a new documentary about the actor, I Am Heath Ledger.

“I was really shocked, because that was him having fun,” she told the Daily Telegraph. “Every report was coming out that he was depressed and that [the role] was taking this toll on him, and we’re going, honestly, it was the absolute opposite. It couldn’t be more wrong.”

Kate Ledger added: “He had an amazing sense of humour, and I guess maybe only his family and friends knew that, but he was having fun. He wasn’t depressed about the Joker!”

Meanwhile, the documentary’s producer Matt Amato said of the film: “I hope it’s an antidote to a lot of the gossip that exists in the world. There are some really terrible things about Heath out there.”