Billy Dee Williams, legendary African American actor, artist, singer, writer, and heart throb, has been married to Teruko Nakagami Williams since 1972 or 43 years at the time of this post. If you are surprised by this, you are not alone. Billy Dee leads a very quiet private life and he and his wife only make select social appearances – hence the lack of many photos of Billy Dee and Teruko on the internet. Many, many people had no idea that one of the biggest African American leading men ever, has been married in a Black and Asian relationship for so many years.
Teruko is Billy Dee’s third wife and they each have one child from prior marriages, Corey Williams, and Miyako Shorter, and one daughter together, Hanako Williams. All of their children are grown and living their own lives at this time. The couple separated and seriously considered divorce in 1993, but they reconciled four years later in 1997, and have stayed together since. Teruko was previously married to Wayne Shorter, a well-known African American jazz saxophonist.
Billy Dee, African American / Montserratian (Caribbean West Indies), is 78 at the time of this post, and has been acting for over 50 years. He has appeared in an impressive array of movies including Star Wars, Brian’s Song, Lady Sings the Blues, Mahogany, and Batman. It was just reported that Billy Dee will return to the new Star Wars trilogy movies. He played the role of Lando Calrissian in the original Star Wars trilogy, and while he will not appear in the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens, he is slated to appear in Star Wars Episode Eight. Billy Dee also paints and has had several art exhibits for his artwork.
Billy Dee’s first two wives were both African American and an interviewer asked him why he chose to marry a Japanese American. Billy Dee said, “I just don’t have any feelings about whether a woman is Black, White, green, or whatever. It’s who I like to be with at that time. Teruko and I met in NYC through friends. I liked her, she liked me, we talked a lot, we became good friends, we fell in love, and one day we decided to get married. Simple as that.”
He also credits his marriage to Teruko as a highlight in his life saying, “Marrying Teruko was a turning point in my life. She’s a woman who really forces me to look at things in a very real way. She’s that kind of person. She makes very heavy demands, but they’re not unreasonable ones, because once you grasp what she’s all about, you realize she’s always encouraging you forward, telling you that you’re much more than you think you are.”
When asked about his aspirations for his children, he says, “I want my children, and I want their children to know that they’re much, much more than what Black people have been relegated to be, and what some have been made to believe they must be. We are people of the world, and when the nations of Africa and Asia and other parts of the world become really viable forces in the world, I think we’ll begin to feel our oneness with all other people, and more and more we’ll have some importance in the world as people who just happen to have a different tint to their skin. I see that happening more and more today.”
Billy Dee and Teruko are yet another example of how great Asian and Black couple relationships are rooted in a deep unshakable love which allows the couple to withstand all the challenges the world may throw their way. A good friend of mine from another Blasian couple relationship recently told me, “The ultimate question is love, and the ultimate answer is love!” Words to live by for all Blasian couples.