Jesse Williams

Jesse Williams

Model / Actor / Activist

Best known for his breakout role as Dr. Jackson Avery on ABC’s hit series Grey’s Anatomy, Jesse Williams is an American model, actor and activist. After graduating from college, he moved to New York in 2003 to pursue a modeling career. Before he got his first break on Law & Order, Jesse was a high school English and history teacher in Philadelphia.


Jesse went on to star in Lee Daniels' The Butleras well as Money, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 and Brooklyn's Finest. As a prominent social activist, Williams is on the board of directors for the civil rights think tank and advocacy group the Advancement Project. He is also the executive producer of the multifaceted media project Question Bridge: Black Males. At the 2016 BET Awards, Jesse received the Humanitarian Award for his activism.


In 2017, Jesse divorced his wife, Aryn Drake Lee, with whom he has a son, Maceo, and daughter, Sadie. In 2018, the actor made his directorial debut helming a film about Emmett Till, but garnered some outrage for the film's promotional tactics.


(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)