Supermodel GEMMA WARD has credited late actor Heath Ledger with teaching her to defend herself. The 20-year-old beauty met the fellow West Australian after he split from his fiancee Michelle Williams in 2007, and the pair were reportedly dating during the months leading up to his tragic death. She says, "I think he operated from the heart. He really, really knew that if he was going to make a decision to be in a film, then he needed to be really committed to it. "He wasn't afraid to fight with people involved, he wasn't afraid to perhaps piss people off. He told me to always be a punk and stand up for yourself.'" Ledger was found dead at his New York apartment on 22 January (08), aged just 28. Toxicology examinations revealed he was killed by an accidental overdose of prescribed medication.