Two years after Jesse Williams filed for divorce from his wife of five years, Aryn Drake-Lee is opening up for the first time about the split and how she’s moving forward with their two children, Sade, 5 and Maceo, 3.
On Mother’s Day, Lee kicked off her brand new podcast, BBSARETRASH (Babies Are Trash) with friend Trian Long-Smith, in which the two discuss the ugly truths of childbirth, motherhood, and relationships. In fact, as part of the launch, Lee opened up to PEOPLE about her healing process amid the divorce and custody battle with her estranged husband.
“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,” Lee 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.”
“I was in a place where I needed the support that was going to help to ground me,” she continued. “Most everybody I spent the eight years here in LA with all went with him. 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.”
“Hollywood and I bump heads,” Lee continued. “It was never my value system, and it was never something that I was striving for. It never felt comfortable for me because of how superficial it was. And then that all became abundantly clear when everybody went left.”
But, amid caring for her children and nurturing herself, she managed to find a new community of moms, where she felt accepted. “I was able to really find people that were more in alignment with my values in how they are living their lives and how they want to raise their children. I found community.”
As for the drama within her divorce, which has been fueled by reports, Lee said most of it is not true. “Much of what they say is wrong,” she 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.”
“We’re entering a new phase of how people move around and take back their voices and show our faces,” Lee said, as she explained why she decided to start the BBsAreTrash podcast. “I resisted for the last 10 years, having a public profile, and then I got dragged into it against my will. It was possibly my worst nightmare. And then it played out, and now I’m better off for it.”