Though Jesse Williams is a bit reserved when discussing his children, one of his former Grey’s Anatomy costar was not afraid to celebrate his hard work as a father. “Shoutout to all the dads doing their part holding it down showing up for their babies,” Ellen Pompeo posted to her Instagram account in 2018, sharing a photo of Jessie Williams grabbing a lunchbox belonging to one of his two children, daughter Sadie and son Maceo.
At the time of that photo, Jesse was a year removed from his split with his now ex-wife, Aryn Drake-Lee. He filed for divorce in 2017, and since then, it’s been one conflict after another. In January 2018, a judge ordered Jesse to pay his ex around $40,000 to $50,000 a month in spousal support and split the residuals he had earned during their marriage. That dropped down to just $6,413 a month after his exit from Grey’s in 2021, according to PEOPLE.
Jesse and Aryn continued to clash. He accused her of “erratic, gatekeeping behavior” and “repeated violation of court orders.” In 2021, they were reportedly ordered to undergo a program for “high conflict parents” to help them “reduce conflicts in co-parenting relationships.” In March 2022, Jesse and Aryn reportedly reached a new child custody agreement. Aryn requested that his custodial time be reduced, per E! News, which the judge denied.
There were rumors of infidelity surrounding this breakup, something that Jesse denied. “I was in a relationship 13 years,” he said in the Footnotes For 4:44, the companion video to JAY-Z’s 4:44 album. “13 real years, not five years, not seven years, 13 years. And all of a sudden, motherf-ckers are writing think-pieces that I somehow threw a 13-year relationship — like the most painful experience I’ve had in my life, like with a person I’ve loved with all of my heart — that I threw a person and my family in the trash because a girl I work with is cute.”
Caught in the center of this conflict are Jesse’s two children, so here’s what you need to know about them.
Jesse and Aryn welcomed their daughter, Sadie Williams, in early December 2013. The exact date is unknown since Jesse and Aryn have kept their children out of the spotlight. “It’s hard to describe. It’s wonderful — a new discovery every day. It’s great, and I’m loving it,” he said of fatherhood when talking to PEOPLE in 2014. “Not getting too much sleep … I’m just trying to put together three solid hours of cogent communication!”
Jesse met Aryn when he was a schoolteacher in NYC. They dated for five years before tying the knot in September 2012.
Maceo August Lion-Baldwin Williams was born on June 11, 2015, according to E! News (who offered no explanation of the child’s full name at the time.) Like with Sadie, Jesse has kept Maceo out of the public eye. He has been spotted taking them out about, like when he took the two to the Larchmont Family Fair in 2019.
“I try to raise them with the greatest [values] from my life, but times are completely different now,” he told Us Weekly in 2015. “We were at an age where we didn’t have [Internet] or email addresses — it’s both exciting and terrifying. These things give you incredible amounts of access…and some minds are not ready for the access and can’t decipher.”