How Gillian Iliana Waters Became Michael Jai White’s Wife and their Life Journey Since

Gillian Iliana Waters and Michael Jai White have been married for a couple of years now and many have come to admire their relationship as they seem to have figured out how to stay happy in marriage while sustaining a demanding career and the hectic responsibilities that comes with having a large, blended, family. Theirs is also a union that inspires people to not give up on love and finding the right partner no matter the disappointment and failures they might have encountered in that regard.

Jai is the most popular of the couple. He is an American actor admired for being a martial artist as well. The New York-born entertainer has been active since 1989 and is often described as the first actor of African-American extraction to play a popular comic book superhero role – that of Albert “AI” Simmons in Spawn, a 1997 superhero film based on a comic book character that bears the same name. Because of the status he has attained in the entertainment industry; it is often thought he’s the reason his wife is popular. But as you would soon learn, Gillian Iliana Waters is popular in her own right and does not exist in the shadows of her husband’s attainments.

Gillian Iliana Waters and Michael Jai White Had Been Friends Since The Mid 1990s And They Briefly Dated In 1997

Based on what the couple has shared about their relationship over the years, one can tell they met in the mid-1990s, sometime between 1995 and 1996. At this time, Gillian was just starting her career in the entertainment industry while Michael had already popularized his name with roles in movies and TV series like True Identity, Universal Soldier, On Deadly Ground, Tyson, Living Single, JAG, NYPD Blue, and more.

While the circumstances surrounding how they met are yet to be divulged, the couple disclosed in 2015 that they had known each other for 19 years. After they met, they dated in 1997 but eventually went their separate ways because, according to Gillian, the timing was wrong for them. She explained that they both had a lot going on in their lives that made it hard for them to be in a relationship. For her, parting ways and being with other partners have made things better for them as a couple as they now know what they want and were both settled and ready for a long-term commitment.

Michael echoed Gillian’s sentiments when he was asked how he got to know she ought to be the special woman in his life. Asserting that he had always known she would be his wife a long time ago, the actor expressed that their relationship suffered when they dated in 1997 because they were both committed to helping other people. As they didn’t take the time to maintain the relationship, the passion died off but they remained close friends.

They Reunited In 2011, Got Engaged In 2014, and Had a Lovely Wedding In Thailand The Following Year

Years after they parted ways, Gillian Iliana Waters and Michael Jai White reunited in 2011. The story of how they got back together is an interesting tale. In an episode of the Oprah Winfrey Network docu-series, Black Love, White revealed that he repeatedly called Gillian to confess his love after he took NyQuil, a cold and flu medicine. It happened that he had a bad reaction to the medicine that left him thinking he would die, so he called Gillian to let her know she’s the true love of his life.

Thankfully, the actor survived the NyQuil experience and they had to talk about his confession; this marked the beginning of a new relationship for them as they started dating thereafter. Having learned from their past and the relationships they had after they parted ways the first time they dated, Gillian and Michael took deliberate measures to get it right this time. While things were not awkward for them as they remained good friends all through the time their breakup lasted, they refrained from making demands on each other when they reconnected and this helped in nurturing their love.

Three years into the relationship, the two were ready to take things to the next level. They got engaged in early 2014 and wasted no time in getting married thereafter. Gillian Iliana Waters and Michael Jai White got married in Thailand on the 3rd of July 2015. Before this happened, the actor was already publicly referring to Gillian as his wife. His explanation to this dismissed the notion that they had been secretly married before they had the Thailand wedding. Jai told RollingOut it felt wrong calling her anything else, adding that she is more than a wife to him. The actor also noted that he had been married before and expressed that his worst day with Gillian is better than his best day with his ex-wife, Courtney Chatham.

The Marriage Isn’t The First for Both Gillian and Michael

Gillian and Michael decided to have their wedding in Thailand because they both love the Southeast Asian country; the culture and the people of the nation. They also wanted to have a unique wedding and ultimately settled for a lavish but intimate ceremony that would reflect the way of life of the Thailand people. Apart from featuring a fireworks show with Thai drummers and dancers that performed with flower petals, there was a parade of painted elephants and the couple was dressed in exotic, Thai culture attire. It was a perfect wedding one might deem too flamboyant for a couple that had both suffered a failed union in the past.

Before Gillian Iliana Waters got married to Michael, she had been married to a fellow named Antonio Brown. Many things are yet to be learned about her ex-husband but records have it they got married on the 18th of January 2005. When they parted ways and what led to their separation has remained unknown to the public. However, it is believed that Gillian’s first marriage came to end around the same time she reunited with Michael Jai White. This is so because she often refers to the end of the marriage in the several times she has conveyed that her reunion with Jai happened at the “perfect time”.

Michael Jai White had also been married and divorced before his union with Gillian. He divorced his first wife, Courtney Chatham, whom he married in 2005, in 2011 – the same year he reunited with Gillian. There is no clear-cut reason why the marriage failed but based on what the actor penned in a Facebook piece he titled “Apologies To All My Ex’s!”, one can conclude the union packed up because Courtney isn’t the woman he was meant to be with, thus he was not capable of loving her as deeply as she wanted.

They Both Had Kids From Their Previous Marriages and Now Co-Parent Five Children

Gillian and Michael were already parents before they got married. While they do not have any child together and would probably keep things that way, it is no secret that they co-parent five kids, three of whom are adults. The famous actor came into the marriage with three children: two sons and a daughter named Devin Michael White, Jai Jordan White, and Morgan Michelle White. For Gillian, it was with the two daughters she had with her former husband, Antonio Brown. Their names are Alaia Waters and Niahla Waters. In all, Gillian is a step-mum to three biological kids of Michael while Michael is a step-dad to Gillian’s biological daughters.

Despite the challenges that come with building a family with kids from a previous relationship, the couple have done a great job. They have a happy, blended family and lives with their three daughters. Michael’s biological daughter and Gillian’s are of the same age and so close that it has become hard to tell them apart. The couple divulged in one of their interviews in 2015 that the girls who were six years old at the time regard themselves as twins and would always insist on dressing alike.

Devin Michael White

  • Date of Birth: December 28, 1990
  • Age: 32 Years Old
  • Occupation: Undetermined
  • Biological Father: Michael Jai White
  • Biological Mother: Unknown

Devin Michael White is the oldest child of the couple; a step-son to Gillian Iliana Waters and the first biological child of her husband, Michael Jai White. The actor had Devin before he got married to his first wife, Courtney Chatham. It is believed that Courtney is not Devin’s biological mother. His biological mother remains unknown to the public just as many other things are yet to be learned about the child of the famous actor.

Devin is a very private person who is not even on social media. When he turned 30, his father took to Facebook to celebrate him. He described Devin as someone who’s matured beyond his age, “a world traveler and a brilliant thinker…”.

Jai Jordan White

  • Date of Birth: April 10, 1995
  • Age: 27 Years Old
  • Occupation: Undetermined
  • Biological Father: Michael Jai White
  • Biological Mother: Unknown

Named after his father, Jai Jordan is the second biological child of Michael Jai White and a step-son to Gillian. He was about ten years old when his father got married to Courtney Chatham and like his older brother, the identity of his biological mother is not known to the public.

Jai is now a 27 year old adult but it is hard to tell what he does for a living. However, there is reason to suspect he has been pursuing a career in the movie industry. A 2016 short comedy film credited him as a production assistant under the camera and electrical department.

Alaia Waters

  • Date of Birth: Sometime in 2001
  • Age: 22 Years Old
  • Occupation: Undetermined
  • Biological Father: Antonio Brown
  • Biological Mother: Gillian Iliana Waters

Alaia is the oldest of the three daughters of the couple: a biological child to Gillian and the step-daughter of Michael. Alaia is the first child the marriage between Gillian and Antonio Brown produced. She graduated from high school in 2019 and it is hard to tell what she has been up to since then.

Niahla Waters

  • Date of Birth: Sometime in 2008
  • Age: 15 Years Old
  • Occupation: Undetermined
  • Biological Father: Antonio Brown
  • Biological Mother: Gillian Iliana Waters

Niahla is the second step-daughter of the famous actor and also the second daughter Gillian had with her ex-husband. She is barely a teenager as of this writing and is mostly known for being one of the children of her famous parents.

Morgan Michelle White

  • Date of Birth: December 24, 2008
  • Age: 14 Years Old
  • Occupation: Undetermined
  • Biological Father: Michael Jai White
  • Biological Mother: Courtney Chatham

Morgan Michelle White is the only child Michael had with his ex-wife Courtney Chatham before their marriage packed up. She is also the only step-daughter of Gillian and has two half-brothers (Devin Michael White and Jai Jordan White) and two step-sisters (Alaia and Niahla Waters).

Michael Jai White’s Wife Is Also An Accomplished Entertainer

  • Full Name: Gillian Iliana Waters
  • Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California
  • Date of Birth: January 16, 1975
  • Age: 48 Years Old
  • Occupation: Actress and Producer
  • First Husband: Antonio Brown
  • Duration of Marriage with Michael Jai White: (2015 – Present)
  • No. of Kids: Five, Including Three Step-Children

There is no doubt that many came to know more about Gillian Iliana Waters after she became Gillian Iliana White but it remains a fact that she has always been popular before her marriage to Michael Jai White. Records have it that her entertainment career took off in 1996 when she made appearances in a few music videos. The African-American actress of Irish and Blackfoot Indian heritage was born in Los Angeles to Victor and Cheryl Waters on the 16th of January 1975. Nonetheless, it was in Altadena that she was raised. From what we learned, Gillian had a memorable childhood and was a bright and athletic student who was famous amongst her peers.

Being an actress wasn’t her dream career as a teenager. It is said that she wanted to work with the FBI. Because of that, and the fact that she was an honors student in high school, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) handed her a scholarship to get her college education from the private, historically black research university in Washington, D.C., Howard University. It was at Howard that Gillian Iliana Waters got drawn to performing arts. She set out as an Administration of Justice student but would abandon the course to study Human Communications and minor in Dramatic Arts.

Gill, as she is fondly called, has been working in the entertainment industry for over 25 years and has featured in no fewer than 37 small and big screen productions thus far. Her first work, to the best of our knowledge, was in the 1996 music video of LL Cool J and Boyz II Men titled Hey Lover. That same year, she played Rhonda in an episode of Martin titled “Come on Over to My Place”. She took her acting career to the big screen the following year and played Shante and Mossberg 500 Tammy Jo respectively in How to Be a Player and Jackie Brown. Gill also played Tammy in the “Lockdown” episode of Malcolm & Eddie that same year.

She Has Featured In Dozens of Small and Big Screen Productions Since Her Career Took Off

For the rest of the 1990s, Gillian Iliana would get to feature in only one film and several TV series. In 1999, she played a reporter in The Breaks, a comedy film written by Mitch Mullany and directed by Eric Meza. She also appeared in “The First Big Break-Up” episode of For Your Love that year. The previous year, she was seen in an episode each of Pensacola: Wings of Gold and Arli$$. Her most significant TV role for the decade was probably in The Wayans Bros. She played Jenna/La Quisha in the “Gots to Have a J.O.B.” and “The Son of Marlon” episodes of the series.

At the turn of the decade, the actress played Lena, Verna, and Amoria respectively in That’s Life, Bamboozled, and Xena: Warrior Princess. These are all TV series and she played the roles in a 2000 episode of each show. 2001 wasn’t a very busy year for Gill as she only played Denis in the “Nobody’s Fool” episode of The Parkers. This trend continued in the years that followed: the actress had only three roles between 2002 and 2005 and they were in the Jeffrey W. Byrd movie, Book of Love: The Definitive Reason Why Men Are Dogs (2002), the “Jay the Artist” episode of My Wife and Kids (2002), and the “Ghost Bride” episode of Ghost Whisperer (2005).

Her next role was in 2007 when she played Julia in Sister’s Keeper, an action drama thriller written and directed by Kent Faulcon. She also played China Lee in seven episodes of Days of Our Lives. After this, she was absent in the industry until 2012 when she played Ms. Harris in a comedy film written and directed by Danielle L. Ross titled Back Then. Gillian Iliana Waters’ career picked up again in 2014 with appearances in TV series like The Exes, Sam & Cat, Love That Girl!, and Partners. Her husband Jai directed and starred in 2016’s Never Back Down: No Surrender and it was the only project Gill featured in that year.

How Successful Is Gillian Waters Compared to Her Husband?

From 2017 to date, her only movie roles are in Cops and Robbers (2017), Welcome to Sudden Death (2020), and Take Back (2021); her husband Michael Jai White starred in all. Within the same time frame, her prominent TV roles were in The Young and the Restless (2019) and The Oval (2020 – 2021). Disregarding these, the actress made appearances in Strange Angel (2018), NCIS: Los Angeles (2019), Black-ish (2020), and In the Cut (2020). Her works in the pipeline include TV series Lace and two feature films; The Hit and Love You Anyway.

Gillian thus far has two credits as a producer. She was the executive producer of Take Back and as of this writing, is serving as an associate producer for The Outlaw Johnny Black, an action-comedy western movie that her husband is directing. In view of the foregoing, it is clear that Gillian Iliana Waters has had a fulfilling and successful career but it can’t be compared to her husband’s. Apart from the fact that he has had more acting roles across all platforms, he also has more credits as a producer. More so, he is a director and a writer. In a nutshell, Gill has had a fantastic career but it doesn’t measure up to Jai’s if one must compare their career accomplishments.

Working and Working Out Together Have Helped Them Create a Balance Between Their Careers and Relationship

As Gillian and Michael are both members of the movie industry, it is only natural they have worked together several times. As stated earlier, they worked together in 2021’s Take Back, 2020’s Welcome to Sudden Death, and 2017’s Cops and Robbers. The couple enjoys working together and once expressed that it has probably contributed to the ease they experience in terms of having a balance between their career and their family life.

The first time they worked together was in Never Back Down: No Surrender, a 2016 martial arts film that Michael directed. Gillian played Myca Cruz, the love interest of Michael’s character in the movie filmed in Thailand. According to Michael, Gillian was cast in the movie after the producers watched her audition tape, without knowing she was his spouse. It was when they asked for a room together that the Sony executives realized they were a couple. The experience was a great one for both Gillian and Michael.

It was also a memorable moment for the two and their multitude of fans when Gillian got to interview Michael at the 2020 Oscars. Amongst other things, the actress asked the actor about his wife and he described her as the best thing that has happened to him.

Apart from working on movies, the couple also work out together and it has helped strengthen their relationship. For them, being married and committed to each other means supporting themselves in all aspects of their lives – physical, emotional, and otherwise. Based on the foregoing, it is not hard to see why people regard Gillian Iliana Waters and Michael Jai White as the perfect power couple. They are both successful in their careers, are super supportive of each other, and have built a blended, happy family.

Key Takeaways

  • Gillian Iliana Waters and Michael Jai White have been married since 2015 and both have successful careers in the entrainment industry.
  • The couple met in the mid-1990s, dated in 1997, broke up, reunited in 2011, and got engaged in 2014.
  • The two have a total of five children but are yet to have any biological child together.
  • Gillian was previously married to Antonio Brown with whom she had two daughters.
  • Michael was also married to Courtney Chatham with whom he had a daughter.
  • Gillian and Michael enjoy working together and are happily married.
Chinedu Ndubueze
Chinedu Ndubueze
Chinedu holds a B.SC in Mass Communications with several years of writing and editing experience. He is an advocate of closed-back headphones, horror movies, and dark humor; He believes that Peter Griffin and Stan Smith should be real people. Outside of having to write, edit, and work on other forms of content, Chinedu may keep up with the EPL or listen to everything Eminem and Jon Bellion.


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