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Grey’s Anatomy Vet Jesse Williams’ Divorce Stuff Is Still Ongoing, But He Just Landed Another Big Victory

Jesse Williams has had a lot going on in the past year, with his Broadway debut in Take Me Out leading to a Tony Award nomination, not to mention his return to Grey’s Anatomy for its Season 18 finale. But behind the scenes, the actor continues to battle his ex-wife, Aryn Drake-Lee, over child support payments. The former couple appeared in court again this week, where the Jackson Avery actor scored a big win.

Back in April, Jesse Williams lobbied to have his monthly child support payments reduced due to a significant decrease in income after leaving Grey’s Anatomy. A judge agreed to temporarily reduce the payments from $40,000 to $6,413. Radar reports that after hearing arguments from both the actor and Aryn Drake-Lee in a closed courtroom on August 30, that Drake-Lee would continue to collect a reduced amount. Williams was ordered to pay $6,146 in monthly child support when he is in town to exercise their regularly scheduled custody agreement, and $7,953 when he is working out of town.

This was another huge victory for Jesse Williams, who saw his earnings — $6.2 million for the role of Jackson Avery on the ABC medical drama, plus $183,000 in residuals — reduced to just $1,668 per week when he left Grey’s Anatomy after 12 seasons for the bright lights of Broadway.

While it’s easy to see how the change in income would make $40,000 monthly payments pretty difficult, Aryn Drake-Lee argued that she and the couple’s two children shouldn’t be punished for her ex-husband’s decision to change jobs. She pointed out that the move was his decision, and Jesse Williams should not be allowed to “shed his family responsibilities” in pursuit of his “own path.”

Since filing for divorce in 2017, Jesse Williams and Aryn Drake-Lee have been going back and forth in court. Drake-Lee even accused the actor of intentionally complicating situations by filing documents over matters that had already been ruled on. She accused Williams and his lawyers of “bullying me, harassing me and having tantrums when you don’t get what you want at the very last minute.”

The former couple got married in 2012 after dating for five years. They had two children — Sadie in 2013 and Maceo in 2015 — before splitting in 2017. Their divorce was finalized in 2020. 

For now it seems like Aryn Drake-Lee will have to make due with less child support than she was accustomed to receiving. However, it will be interesting to see if his payments continue to fluctuate with his income. I wonder what would happen if he ever did sign on for a Japril spinoff with Sarah Drew?

In the meantime, Grey’s Anatomy fans should take comfort in Jackson Avery and April Kepner being back together, as they revealed in their guest spot on the Grey’s season finale, and Jesse Williams himself said “it’s possible” Japril could make another appearance on the show someday. Season 19 of Grey’s Anatomy is set to premiere at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, October 6, on ABC. Be sure to check out our 2022 TV Schedule to see when all of the new and returning shows are premiering. 

Heidi Venable
Content Producer

Mom of two and hard-core '90s kid. Unprovoked, will quote Friends in any situation. Thrives on New Orleans Saints football, The West Wing and taco trucks.