Michelle Williams despised her time working on hit teen drama DAWSON'S CREEK - because it turned her into a "pop tart" and tainted her chances of landing serious movie roles when the show ended in 2003.
The TV series, which premiered in 1998, helped to launch the careers of Williams and her co-stars Katie Holmes, Joshua Jackson and James Van der Beek, but the actress insists she was always "secretly plotting" a way out of the programme.
She tells PopEater, "I said to a friend being on Dawson's Creek was kind of like being a mobster.
"You set up a shop selling pizza but in the back you're laundering money. You're doing one thing in plain sight and secretly plotting something else. I was plotting my tastes, my interests, my beliefs and hopes for what I could be."
And Williams admits it was a struggle trying to prove she was worthy of big screen roles once Dawson's Creek wrapped.
She says, "Yes, it was hard getting jobs I wanted. I was a pop tart. It took patience and baby steps."
The star appeared in a handful of small, independent films before scoring her big break as Heath Ledger's onscreen wife in 2005's Brokeback Mountain, a role which earned her an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress.