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Jesse Williams and Aryn Drake-Lee’s divorce and custody drama has been dragging on since 2017. Wow, it was like a completely different world back then. Jesse has been making headlines for, ah, other things, lately, but the settlement stuff has quietly been simmering behind the scenes this whole time. They reached a custody and support settlement in 2019, but Jesse last year petitioned for a support reduction due to his changed income after willingly leaving the comfort of network TV for Broadway. (Though he was in an episode of Grey’s last season and is scheduled to be in at least one this season according to IMDB and Sarah Drew).
Now Jesse’s asked for an emergency hearing over custody due to his upcoming second run of Take Me Out in New York, while Aryn and the children are based in LA. He says she’s violating the court order and causing emotional damage; she posted on Instagram that she’s going to be silent no more and has receipts.
As RadarOnline.com first reported, this week, Jesse asked for an emergency hearing after Aryn refused to agree to let their two children fly out to New York to see him while he performs on Broadway in the hit Take Me Out.
Jesse said Aryn would not agree which led to him running to court. He explained, “I recently agreed to perform in the second run of Take Me Out starting in October 2022 and ending in January 2023. The play is set to start in October 2022 and run through at least January 2023. I am returning to New York in early October to start rehearsals. I asked Aryn to honor the Court’s prior order so I can continue to spend quality time with our children while I am in New York. Aryn refused.”
The actor claimed Aryn’s violations of the court order had caused both him and their children emotional damage.
Hours after RadarOnline.com broke the story, Aryn posted a photo of herself on the beach. She didn’t hold back writing, “Is it good for the health and wellness of a 7yr and 8yr old to be taken out of school on a regular basis to fly cross country overnight on a red eye to be on the ground for two days? Is it reasonable for them to return dazed and confused and then be expected to pick right up and survive at school the rest of the week?”
She continued, “I don’t think so! Neither do any of the parents who actually parent on a routine basis. There’s a name for the condition of an adult who expects their children to indulge, caregive and service that adult’s desires at the childrens’ expense…”
She included the hashtags “I have stayed quiet for far too long” and “receipts seasons.”
The couple — who were together for 13 years – were married from 2012 through 2017. The split was incredibly bitter with both sides accusing the other of playing dirty.
The couple reached a settlement in 2019 where Jesse agreed to pay $40k a month in child support. However, last year, Jesse went back to the court pleading for the amount to be reduced. He said the amount was based on his income when he starred in Grey’s — when he was pulling in over $6 million per year.
Jesse said his income had dropped drastically since he left the show. He pointed to his Take Me Out weekly paycheck of only $1,600.
Aryn said Jesse was selfish for leaving Grey’s and only looked out for his own best interest. She said his child support payments should not be axed. However, a judge recently sided with the actor and cut the payments down to $7k.
Jesse will be performing in New York from October through January. And he wants the kids to come out for four days each month; he wants to see his children. But the position Aryn shared in her Instagram post makes perfect sense: flying across the country for just a four-day trip is A LOT. It’s a lot for adults (I can’t do it unless forced to for work) and it’s certainly a lot for children that young. It’s a lot even before factoring in that the kids are expected to attend school on the other side of these trips. Surely there is a compromise to be made, perhaps over the Thanksgiving and winter holiday breaks that are longer than a weekend?
But even giving Jesse the benefit of doubt — that he just wants to see his kids — it’s hard to take his side after he left Grey’s Anatomy of his own accord and now the child support is reduced to less than 25% of what it was before. I can understand wanting to leave your job, but dude you have kids to provide for. Step it up. I’m sure that’s why Kevin McKidd is still on the show. Aryn’s post sounds like she’s reached the end of her rope and she’s alluding to a lot more than we’ve heard when she says Jesse expects things at his convenience, at the children’s expense. I want to like him because of his activism and he was on Grey’s and all that, but he pulls this crap and makes it impossible.
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