Jesse Williams and his wife Aryn Drake Lee have decided to go their separate ways after five years of marriage, and the Grey’s Anatomy star has asked a judge to grant him joint legal and physical custody of their two children.
— Wetpaint (@WetpaintTV) May 1, 2017
Friends say that the 35-year-old “wants to be the hot single guy in Hollywood” and that Williams’ rise in Hollywood is to blame for the actor’s change of heart about his marriage.
Page Six reported that Aryn Drake-Lee supported Jesse for years when he was struggling to make his way in Hollywood. In fact, she was the main breadwinner until 2009, when Williams scored his big role on Grey’s Anatomy.
A source close to the couple said that Aryn poured a lot of money into the relationship and basically sacrificed her life for Williams.
“And now he wants to go out and be the hot single Hollywood guy. Jesse wants to do whatever he thinks will make him a bigger star. He’s drinking his own Kool-Aid and it’s ‘the Jesse show.’ He’s dead f***ing wrong. He did not respect those vows. He wants to be single.”
Williams was recently linked to Minka Kelly, Derek Jeter’s ex, and friends reportedly have confirmed that he is dating her. However, another source said that they’re simply working together on a video game with a number of other people.
— The Style Museum (@_stylemuseum) April 30, 2017
According to the source, when Jesse Williams and Aryn Drake-Lee moved to Los Angeles for Grey’s Anatomy, it all evened out – Jesse was finally taking care of Aryn. Unfortunately, Drake-Lee was often ridiculed in the media because when she was photographed with Jesse, she didn’t look like the typical Hollywood starlet. The source said this must have placed a huge strain on their relationship and that Williams will now try to portray the divorce as an amicable arrangement.
“When you hear people saying, ‘Why aren’t you with someone hotter or with this actress?’ I’m sure that placed a strain on their relationship. It’s bulls**t. They’re going to paint a picture like he’s been separated for a very long time, but the truth is that he left her.”
Williams was conveniently silent when asked about his relationship with Minka, instead turning his back to the cameras to reveal a jacket that read, “Don’t Believe the Hype.”
Page Six reported that the couple have a daughter, Sadie, who was born in 2013, and a son Maceo, born in 2015.
The couple met in 2007 when Aryn Drake-Lee was a real estate broker and Jesse was working as a schoolteacher in New York City. The relationship quickly blossomed and they were married in Los Angeles in 2012.
Jesse Williams spoke to USA Today in 2010, and at the time admitted that his wife had been there for the good times and the bad.
“She’s been with me through all different facets of my career. She’s stuck with me through thick and thin. We know each other in and out.”
People magazine reported that fans of Grey’s Anatomy, and indeed those who were close to the couple, were shocked to hear of Jesse Williams’ split from his wife.
A source close to the couple spoke to People magazine, saying that their relocation to Los Angeles was a big contributor to tensions in the relationship, and also that when news of their divorce broke, Jesse and Aryn were in the process of adding a second wing to their home in Los Angeles.
“None of us saw this coming. Jesse lived for her.”
— FYINTERTAINMENT (@FYINTERTAINMENT) April 25, 2017
The source added that, back in Brooklyn, Jesse used to have “dreads and a backpack” while his wife was “grinding doing real estate.” But everything changed when the couple moved.
“Aryn thought everyone was so different from their friends back in New York, and not as genuine.”
The source added that even though Jesse wasn’t around because of work commitments and Aryn was always with the children, no one saw this coming.
The Atlanta Black Star reported that the Grey’s Anatomy star and political activist was the keynote speaker at the Future of Wealth Summit: Technology, Inclusion and Social Change, which was held on Wednesday, April 26.
— Ruben Harris (@rubenharris) April 27, 2017
At the summit, the popular actor shared how he leveraged his love of Black culture when developing his Ebroji app. Held in Washington D.C., the event featured leaders across many industries, including government, philanthropy, and business. They all came together to discuss the fundamental hurdles to equality and opportunity in the United States, including the lack of racial diversity in technology.
Following his 2016 BET Awards speech, Williams explained that he was left to answer questions about how to resolve the issue of Black oppression.
“Language is inherently political, language is inherently a reflection of culture or cultures intertwining and intermixing, as is dialect, slang. What is ghettoized, what is revered, what is sophisticated? What is too simple and reductive? Who owns language and whose is it? When is it okay to appropriate it?”
Williams and his then-wife, Aryn, developed the Ebroji GIF keyboard app, which heavily utilizes Black pop culture and is designed to improve the way people communicate.
“We wanted to look at this new wild, wild West that is tech and this space of social media where, like everything else in America, Black culture really drives what the trending topics, conversations, phrasing, the way we speak, how we dance, different trends. It’s a reflection of American culture and is very often turned into something that we should be ashamed of until it filters through white pop culture and [is] then sold back to us with some jeans that are on fleek. Folks of color, particularly Black folks in this country, are used to having to squeeze ourselves into the body of the white protagonist to relate and feel like we’re included in the story because we’re very rarely that protagonist.”
— jesse Williams. (@iJesseWilliams) May 3, 2017
According to Williams, when shaping Black culture he and his development team were able to use language to determine the online impact of the movement for Black lives, including the importance of Black Twitter, Vine, Instagram, and other social media websites.
“We don’t own any of those things. They’re not designed for us or by us. We aren’t in any positions of power or in the decision-making process in those [tech] corporations. But we add so much value to them to keep them afloat in many ways.”
[Featured Image by Francois Durand/Getty Images]