Jesse Williams and ex-wife Aryn Drake-Lee traded filings in court last week for the custody agreement on their two children, daughter Sadie Drakelee-Williams, 8, and son Maceo Drakelee-Williams, 7.
On Wednesday, September 14, 2022, TMZ reported that Jesse Williams filed legal docs to change the now divorced couple’s custody agreement. According to the papers obtained, the actor requested that the court grant him specific custodial visits with his children while he temporarily moves to New York City from Los Angeles this fall to continue his role in the Broadway revival of Take Me Out.
A previous court order granted Williams custody during his spring run in the play that allowed him four consecutive days a month in N.Y. with his children. But Drake-Lee, Jesse said in his request, is now not honoring that agreement, specifically during the four weekends he’s requested beginning this October — many of which, he noted in the documents, coincide with school breaks.
He also complained in the documents that Drake-Lee has not honored previously custody agreement commitments, such as an order allowing him to call the children once a day, which lends to his “emotional distress” claim.
“Aryn almost never answers my Facetime calls for the children,” Williams alleged, claiming she once blocked him from speaking with his kids for 24 days straight. “Aryn’s habitual violation of this long- standing court order is emotionally damaging not only for the children but admittedly for me. I cannot describe how emotionally devastating it is to continuously step out of an engagement and/or find a quiet, well-lit place for my one sliver of time in a day to see my children (via FaceTime), the two people I love the most in the world, only to sit there staring at myself waiting as it rings and rings and rings without her answering, or her just refusing and canceling the call. I know the children can hear the sound of my distinct FaceTime calls at the same time of day each day and see Aryn refuse them.”
“I attempted to resolve these issues with Aryn informally. Aryn refused,” Williams wrote in the papers. “Aryn’s conduct demonstrates her continued, unrelenting intent to frustrate my relationship with the children.
Drake-Lee, in her court filing, argued that she’s focused on “the best interests of the children and the unreasonable burdens that would be placed upon them by [Williams’s] difficult and demanding requests.”
“I am not in agreement with a 7-year-old and 8-year-old being asked to fly on overnight red eye fights on a regular basis’ missing at least 2 days of school per month,” she wrote, refuting his knowledge of their time off schedule. “Considering how exhausting and regressive these requests were for our children in the spring, I suspect that even more than just the 2 days a month will be missed as a result.”
“This was a temporary solution given for a temporary situation the first time. This is now a request that covers 8 out of 12 months of 2022. The majority of the school calendar year,” she added in the papers. “[Williams] will have been out of town more than in town, and he is requesting that the children be thrown upside down to accommodate that.”
She went on to say that Williams “refuses to work towards co-parenting solutions that create the stability that our children needs,” and argued that “he doesn’t have a history of engaging with a consistent schedule that supports the needs of our children” as she is the “primary attachment caregiver.” She claimed, instead, he sees the kids more as “cargo” he can ship back-and-forth at will.
Williams’s ex-wife also alleged that she is “experiencing emotional distress” from her communication with Williams and his legal team. “I am being bullied [and] harassed,” she said.
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Also on Wednesday, Aryn Drake-Lee posted a photo of herself without a smile and a blurry desert background with this caption: 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? 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… #receiptsseason #ihavestayedquietforfartoolong.
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