It wasn’t Aryn Drake-Lee’s preference to have a public profile, but after being thrust into the spotlight following actor Jesse Williams filing to divorce her two years ago, the 39-year-old is now stepping into the limelight.
For the first time, Drake-Lee is opening up about her experience after the activist and “Grey’s Anatomy” star moved to end their marriage in 2017. And she’s giving the virtual finger to her former Hollywood pals.
“I was in a place where I needed the support that was going to help to ground me. Most everybody I had spent the eight years here in L.A. with all went with him,” she told People magazine of the response from her and Williams’ mutual friends after the filing. “It was a blessing in disguise because it was a real slap in the face to see who was around us and why, and at that point, it became very clear. And it cleared a pathway for me to make a shift and get back onto a path that was more in alignment with how I wanted to live my life.”
Drake-Lee, who launched a new podcast called “BBSARETRASH” (pronounced “Babies Are Trash”) about the realness of motherhood with pal Trian Long-Smith, explained she left her real estate career in New York to help Williams pursue his own in Los Angeles.
“When the divorce process started I had two nursing babies, and I am the one that ran our household for the 14-and-a-half years that he and I were together in the same house,” she said. “And for our children, and for the creation of the businesses that we built together when I left my career in New York for us to move to California to pursue his, and then as a result built it … I knew, as the one that was really holding it all together, that I didn’t have a lot of room to fall, even though I was falling.”
Drake-Lee, who is currently embroiled in a bitter custody battle over their two young children with the actor, also took aim at the atmosphere of Hollywood as a whole. While Drake-Lee appeared smiling in photo-ops with Williams at events like the “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2” premiere in 2008 and the Art Los Angeles Contemporary Reception in 2013, she isn’t too keen on what Tinseltown has to offer.
“Hollywood and I bump heads. It was never my value system, and it was never something that I was striving for,” she told People. “It never felt comfortable for me because of how superficial it was. And then that all became abundantly clear when everybody went left.”
Now having since “found community” among like-minded individuals, she isn’t interested in clearing the air about the many rumors that swirled around her and her estranged spouse, including one that he cheated on her with actress Minka Kelly after he filed to end their union.
“Much of what they say is wrong,” Drake-Lee said. “But I’m not interested in a tit-for-tat, because that’s just never-ending. People believe what they want to believe because it’s easy.”
Williams has previously slammed claims he cheated on Drake-Lee. Speaking in Jay-Z’s “Footnotes for 4:44,” he said, “All of a sudden motherf—ers 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.”
Williams, who has not addressed Drake-Lee’s new remarks, was recently hit with a request from his estranged wife to pay her legal fees. This is in addition to the $50,629 a month in child support and $50,595 in spousal support Williams is already forking over.