Jake Gyllenhaal Gets Super Candid About Heath Ledger’s Tragic Death

“It affected me in ways I can’t put into words.”

In an new, emotional interview, Jake Gyllenhaal opened about how Heath Ledger’s death changed his life. It’s been over eight years since he passed away, and still the actor is affected by the loss. “Personally, it affected me in ways I can’t necessarily put in words or even would want to talk about publicly,” he told People and Entertainment Weekly’s director Jess Cagle. In terms of professionally, I was at an age where mortality was not always that clear to me.”

The actors — who starred in 2005’s Brokeback Mountain together — became close friends, so it was an incredible shock to the Demolition star when he heard about Ledger’s sudden death. It also made him realize a lot, such as the importance of relationships.

I think you live in this bubble, too, of making films…There are real friends, and there is a real community. There is also that [new Macklemore song] where he says, ‘The curtain closes and nobody notices’…I think that’s true, and I think that’s OK. But I think at the time, I assumed everyone would notice – and they did with Heath dying, but I think it [gave me] the experience of, ‘This is fleeting.’ And none of the attention or synthesized love that comes from the success of a film really matters at all. What matters is the relationships you make when you make a film, and the people you learn from when you’re preparing for a film. That changed a lot for me.

Watch the interview below — and grab some tissues while you’re at it.