Teruko Nakagami: Tracing the Path of Billy Dee Williams’ Beloved Wife

Teruko Nakagami is recognized as the spouse of Billy Dee Williams, a prominent American actor renowned for his portrayal of the charismatic character Lando Calrissian in the iconic Star Wars films, particularly in Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983).

Billy Dee Williams has showcased his acting prowess in a diverse array of films, including notable works like Lady Sings the Blues (1972), Nighthawks (1981), Batman (1989), Moving Target (1995), and Undercover Brother (2002). His talent extends beyond the big screen, as he has also graced various television movies and series with his captivating performances.


Nakagami and Williams filed for divorce in 1993. At the time, Williams’ spokesman told Jet Magazine that “theirs is an amicable parting, not a messy Hollywood divorce.” But the couple managed to reconcile their difference and, by 1997, they were living together again. Nakagami and Williams married in 1972. The next year their daughter, Hanako, was born. Both Williams and Nakagami have children from previous marriages as well.

Profile summary

Full nameTeruko Nakagami
NicknameBilly Dee Williams’ wife
Date of birth1946
Age77 years old (as of January 2024)
Place of birthChicago, United States of America
Current residenceUnited States of America
Height (feet)5’5″
Height (centimetres)167
Hair colourBlack
Eye colourDark brown
Marital statusMarried
HusbandBilly Dee Williams
Ex-husbandWayne Shorter
SchoolHyde Park High School
College/UniversityTokyo University of the Arts
ProfessionModel and actress

Teruko Nakagami Early Life

Teruko Nakagami was born in 1946 in Chicago, Illinois. However, specific details regarding her birthplace and the circumstances surrounding her birth remain uncertain.

Little is known about Teruko Nakagami childhood, and information about her parents and upbringing is scarce in the public domain. Despite this, Nakagami has provided some insights into her early years, mentioning growing up in a tranquil neighborhood in Chicago.

Tragically, Teruko Nakagami life took a challenging turn at the age of six when she, along with her twin sister, was relocated to a Japanese-American internment camp in California. While the exact conditions of the camp remain undisclosed, it can be inferred that the experience was far from pleasant.

Following her time in the internment camp, details about Teruko Nakagami life become less clear. Some sources suggest she returned to Chicago, while others indicate a potential relocation to Japan.

Teruko Nakagami Journey: From Chicago to a Japanese?

Teruko Nakagami and Wayne Shorter exchanged vows in 1961, just days before welcoming their baby, Miyaki, into the world. Their union blossomed after Shorter’s visit to Japan, where he fell enamored with the country and its traditions. Nakagami, born in Chicago to Japanese-American parents, initially bore the name Irene but adopted Teruko Nakagami upon meeting Shorter.

At the tender age of six, Nakagami endured the harsh reality of being interned in a Japanese-American camp in California alongside her twin sister. Despite the adversity, Shorter fondly recalled Nakagami’s optimistic tales of their time in the camp, where she described the children’s resilience in creating joy through games. Charmed by her grace and likening her to a Japanese Audrey Hepburn, Shorter cherished Nakagami’s spirit amidst challenging circumstances.

Teruko Nakagami: Chicago to Internment Camp?

Teruko Nakagami, born on August 26, 1967, hails from Chicago, Illinois. Her father, Kenichi Nakagami, formerly served as an executive at IBM, born in 1932, while her mother, Yoshiko Nakagami, pursued a career as a PanAm hostess and model, born in 1944. Teruko has one sister, Michiko Nakagami, born in 1970.

Although both of Teruko Nakagami parents were born in the United States, they ventured to enroll at the esteemed Tokyo University of the Arts during their youth. Subsequently, they returned to the US, where they secured positions as university professors. Teruko spent her formative years in Tokyo but received her education at international schools in Beijing and Tokyo. At the age of 17, she relocated to Chicago to pursue her college education after her time in Beijing.

Despite spending considerable time apart from her husband, Billy Dee Williams, known as William Daniel Williams, who works in another city, Teruko remains connected to her family in Japan, where her parents and sister reside.

Personal Life of Teruko Nakagami?

Teruko Nakagami is the third wife of American actor, voice actor, and artist Billy Dee Williams. A Japanese American, she was born in Chicago as Irene but later changed her name to Teruko Nakagami after meeting musician Wayne Shorter.

Teruko Nakagami First Marriage?

Contrary to common knowledge, Billy Dee Williams wasn’t Teruko Nakagami first spouse. Prior to her relationship with the renowned actor, Nakagami was wed to the legendary jazz saxophonist and composer, Wayne Shorter.

Their encounter occurred in the early 1960s, sparking an instant connection akin to a modern-day Romeo and Juliet. During this era, Shorter’s career was ascending as he became a pivotal composer for the Jazz Messengers band, securing his place in the Jazz Hall of Fame. Nevertheless, his burgeoning success didn’t overshadow his fervent love for Teruko Nakagami.

The couple exchanged vows in 1961, with Shorter’s affection for Nakagami evident in his musical compositions. Several of Shorter’s pieces, such as “Native Dancer” and “Speak No Evil,” were dedicated to his then-wife, illustrating the depth of his emotions. Moreover, in his 1966 album, he likened Nakagami to the iconic Audrey Hepburn, further expressing his admiration.

Their union bore fruit with the birth of their daughter, Miyako, in 1961, a testament to the enduring love between Wayne and Teruko Nakagami.

Teruko Nakagami and Billy Dee Williams?

Following her separation from Wayne Shorter, Nakagami chose to remain single for a period, dedicating her time to raising their daughter, Miyako, and stepping away from the public eye.

However, in 1972, a surprising announcement shook the entertainment world: Billy Dee Williams revealed his marriage to Teruko Nakagami. The wedding was an intimate affair, attended only by close friends and family. The sudden news caught many off guard, as there had been no prior rumors about their relationship.

Despite the unexpected nature of their union, fans rejoiced at the newfound happiness of the couple. Shortly after their marriage, Teruko Nakagami and Billy welcomed their daughter, Hanako Williams, into the world.

For more than two decades, the couple appeared to lead a blissful life together. However, in 1993, Nakagami and Williams filed for divorce, keeping the reasons behind their separation private.

Nevertheless, their story took a positive turn when, approximately four years later, Billy and Teruko Nakagami reconciled and remarried. Today, after over five decades together, they continue to cherish their enduring bond.

She Was Married to Jazz Great Wayne Shorter?

Billy Dee Williams and Teruko Nakagami both had prior marriages before they crossed paths. Teruko Nakagami was previously married to the renowned jazz musician Wayne Shorter. Their union blessed them with a daughter named Miyako, born in 1961. Wayne Shorter even dedicated a song, “Infant Eyes,” to celebrate the arrival of their newborn.

On the other hand, Billy Dee Williams shared a son, Corey Dee, with his first wife, Audrey Sellers. Their son was born in 1960.

In 1972, Billy Dee Williams and Teruko Nakagami exchanged vows, marking the beginning of their journey together. The couple welcomed a daughter named Hanako Williams in 1973. Hanako has since established herself as the manager of an art gallery in Los Angeles. She is happily married and is a proud mother to her own son.

Williams and Teruko Nakagami have two grandchildren as of 2018

Teruko Nakagami and Billy Dee Williams celebrated a significant milestone in 2016 when they welcomed their first grandchild. Kenji Nakagami, their son with Japanese roots, proudly became a father to a daughter named Isabella. In 2018, Kenji and his wife extended the family with the birth of their son, Seamus Nakagami Williams.

Here’s a timeline of Teruko Nakagami and Billy Dee Williams’ relationship, sourced from IMDb: Their paths first crossed in September 1990 during an acting test for the film “Boys’ Life.”

Teruko Nakagami Nakagami and her husband Billy Dee Williams once attempted to part ways. It was Billy Dee Williams who initiated the divorce proceedings, filing for divorce from Teruko Nakagami in 1993. However, despite this initial step towards separation, the couple found a way to reconcile, and by 1997, they were back together and living under the same roof.

Teruko Nakagami Education and Career?

Teruko Nakagami has chosen to keep her educational background private, sparking speculation among the media. While some suggest that discussing her past may be challenging for Nakagami, she has not confirmed this notion.

Additionally, there is little information available about Teruko Nakagamiprofessional career. It appears that she prioritized her role as a mother and dedicated herself to providing the best upbringing for her children.

Nakagami & Williams Filed for Divorce?

In 1993, Nakagami and Williams initiated divorce proceedings. According to a statement made by Williams’ spokesperson to Jet Magazine, the separation was described as amicable rather than tumultuous. However, despite their initial decision to part ways, the couple managed to reconcile their differences, and by 1997, they were back together, residing in the same household. Nakagami and Williams had tied the knot in 1972, and their daughter, Hanako, was born the following year. Additionally, both Nakagami and Williams had children from previous marriages.

Wrapping Up?

While Teruko Nakagami has been a notable figure in the public eye for a significant portion of her life, many aspects of her early years remain shrouded in mystery.

Her journey into the limelight began with her marriage to jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter, marking the start of a whirlwind romance that captivated media attention for over a decade.

Subsequently, Nakagami garnered headlines once more with her union to Billy Dee Williams in 1972. The couple’s joy was further expanded with the arrival of their daughter, Hanako, shortly after their wedding.

Although Teruko and Billy faced a period of separation lasting four years, they have since reconciled and their bond has emerged stronger than ever.

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Final Words

Teruko Nakagami life journey has been marked by fascinating twists and turns, yet much of her early years remain veiled in mystery. Her entrance into the public eye commenced with her marriage to jazz legend Wayne Shorter, sparking a decade-long romance that captivated media attention.

Subsequently, Teruko Nakagami made headlines anew with her union to esteemed actor Billy Dee Williams in 1972. Their joy was augmented with the birth of their daughter, Hanako, shortly thereafter.

Despite a brief period of separation, Nakagami and Williams reconciled, their bond emerging even stronger. Nakagami’s educational background and professional pursuits remain undisclosed, contributing to her enigmatic persona.

In 1993, Nakagami and Williams briefly initiated divorce proceedings, yet they ultimately reunited by 1997, reaffirming their commitment to each other. Their enduring love story, punctuated by twists and reconciliations, stands as a testament to the resilience of their relationship.

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