Actor and activist Jesse Williams and ex-wife Aryn Drake-Lee decided to go their separate ways in mid-April of 2017 after five years of being married and sharing two children, daughter Sadie and son Maceo. Although they finalized their divorce in 2020 but kept going back to court for the custody of their children.
According to reports, the couple shared joint legal and physical custody for their two children but was guided to speak to each other before posting any pictures of their kids on their respective social media accounts. In June of 2017, according to court documents that were obtained by US Weekly that time, Jesse Williams claimed that Aryn Drake-Lee restricts his time with his kids and has rejected his request to spend more time with them which includes sleepovers at his place.
On Jesse’s claims, Aryn’s lawyer, Jill Hersh responded by stating that the mother was just trying to protect the privacy and well-being of the kids and mentioned that it’s unfortunate that Jesse Williams decided to go public about this drastic and difficult change in the family.
It was later reported in 2017 August that Aryn Drake-Lee requested sole custody of the two children and alleged that Jesse Williams had been unfaithful to which Jesse’s representative denied the allegation and said the actor has been working really hard to maintain his relationship with his children and it should been seen that his ex-partner has dramatized the situation with keeping just one specific goal in her mind.
Now, after five years of battling legally the decision remains the fact that both father and mother of Sadie and Maceo will continue to share legal custody of them. Although actor Jesse Williams will have “tie-breaking authority over COVID-19 protocols” for the year if the duo could not reach a decision over their vaccinations. To Jesse’s happiness, the court also granted his request to modify his custodial schedule keeping his work at the Broadway production of ‘Take Me Home’ in mind. According to reports and documents, Jesse will have four consecutive days per month with his kids with two of them being weekends in New York.
For Aryn Drake-Lee, the court agreed to her request that if Jesse ‘cancels some parenting time, he cannot uncancel it later’ unless the two understand the situation and reach a mutual agreement in writing. The judge said, "Mother should appreciate that father cannot share with her certain schedules as far in advance as she would like, and that he may not always want his time with the children to be filled up with extracurriculars, and father should appreciate that mother is adapting her own schedule to meet his needs, and the children deserve to have extracurricular activities that they engage in on a regular basis, not just when mom is in charge."
When Jesse Williams and Aryn Drake-Lee were initially granted joint custody, the court ordered Jesse to pay his ex-wife about $160,000-$100,000 of which served as an advance towards spousal and child support and $60,000 served as advance attorney fees for her attorney. Then again in 2018, he was ordered to pay her about $50,000 per month in spousal support along with splitting the residuals he earned during the time both of them were married. Jesse Williams hit back at his ex-wife’s request for more money stating that he was already paying her too much.
The two got married in 2012 and in 2017 April, Jesse Williams decided to file for divorce the exact reason for their split is not known but close friends of the couple said at the time that Jesse Williams wanted to be a ‘hot single guy in Hollywood’. The source also added that Aryn Drake-Lee had given her everything into this relationship and sacrificed her life for Jesse but now the actor wishes to go out and be single and date other people.
The friend added that the actor who wishes to be single and turn up here and there in Hollywood will do whatever he thinks will help to him to be a bigger star. The source lastly added that their friends are highly disappointed that Jesse Williams did not respect the vows he took and according to their friends he's doing the wrong thing by splitting up with Aryn. Jesse Williams did not comment on the reason for the split.
Talking about how kids are coping with the divorce and legal battle, Aryn Drake-Lee spoke to People in 2019 and shared, “When you start spinning, the children start spinning, so even if you’re looking at them and you’re telling them everything is fine, they know it’s not fine because they can feel it’s not fine. I talk to them on their level. It’s also okay for the children to see me crying, to see that I’m having a hard day today. Because that lets them know that when they have those hard days, there’s also room for that.”
Jesse Williams recently took an exit from ABC’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy where he played Dr. Jackson Avery and is soon going to debut on Broadway with “Take Me Out". The actor feels honored and excited about the play that is finally showcasing after two years of delay. The custody agreement related to the kids is going to be revised once again after Jesse Williams’ play wraps.