Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Michelle grew up watching her father, commodities trader Larry Williams, beat markets and become a prominent investor.(He created the Williams %R market indicator and has published nine books on investing.)
And in 1997, after she’d had a few small TV appearances, Michelle entered and won a futures trading competition — 10 years after her father won the same competition.
In fact, she didn’t just win the competition, she blew it away. No one has beat her returns – 1,000% – since she won the competition.
Michelle was just two years old when her father forecast a huge bull market in 1982's How to Prosper in the Coming Good Years.
He had already published How I Made One Million Dollars … Last Year … Trading Commodities.
Larry's 1987 win in the World Cup Championship of Futures Trading from the Robbins Trading Company, with an 11,376% return for taking $10,000 to over $1,000,000, is still the top performance in the competition.
Larry told Traders' Magazine that he homeschooled his daughter and taught her how to trade by showing her the markets and talking about influences on the bond market.
She took to trading 'like a duck to water,' he said.
Michelle had already appeared on episodes of Baywatch, Step by Step, and Home Improvement by the time she was fifteen.
That year, she got legal emancipation from her parents.
The actress didn't abandon her father's investment footsteps entirely.
Years into her acting career, in 1997, she won the Robbins World Cup Championship of Futures Trading, turning $10,000 into more than $100,000.
Michelle was on Dawson's Creek from 1998 to 2003, leaving her trading days behind.
In 2005, she was in an entirely different competition as an Oscar nominee for Brokeback Mountain.
In 2005, she had a daughter with Brokeback Mountain costar Heath Ledger.
In 2008, Larry agreed to return to face tax evasion charges in the US after a two year battle.
Michelle has said that she's no longer close to her father, however Larry publicly questioned the management of her deceased husband Heath Ledger's will and assets by his father in an interview.
Update: Larry Williams emailed us with this response to our article: 'In February of 2010 the Department of Justice dropped all criminal tax charges against me and I plead to one misdemeanour of failure to file a tax return in a timely fashion.'