What Jesse Williams Has Said About Appearing Nude on Broadway

Former Grey's Anatomy star Jesse Williams had an eventful Monday—not only did he receive a Tony award nomination, but the actor also had nude pictures and videos of him performing during a Broadway show leak online.

The production, Take Me Out, tells the story of Darren Lemming, a professional baseball player who comes out as gay and is confronted off field by homophobia and racism.

The former Grey's Anatomy star has previously spoken about playing the Broadway role in his birthday suit.

In an interview with Page Six on April 6, Williams said he was "terrified."

Jesse Williams
Jesse Williams attends the Filming Italy Sardegna Festival 2019 Day 2 Photocall at Forte Village Resort on June 14, 2019 in Cagliari, Italy. Williams on Monday received a Tony award nomination and also had nude pictures and videos of him performing during a Broadway show leak online. Daniele Venturelli/Getty

"I was terrified, but then I noted that that was what I asked God for. I asked to be terrified. I asked to do something that was scary and challenging and made me earn it and made me feel alive and not comfortable," he said.

"Honestly, I just make that excitement. I don't let it settle. I know it's going to be fine. I just have to believe that and lean forward," Williams said. "Having said that, I'm incredibly humble about the whole thing. I have no business being here. I've never done this before."

Williams also addressed his Broadway debut on the Late Show with Seth Meyers in April.

Speaking about the audience's reaction to the naked scenes, he said: "It's so intense, and the language is so dense that as soon as naked people come out, everybody gets quiet. You can hear a pin drop, or something else drop. It gets really quiet every time we come out there. Every now and then there's some shrieks or gasps or people scurrying out, the light of the exit door cascades up there."

The full-frontal content of Williams, 40, during his debut Broadway show, sent the internet into meltdown and he started trending on social media.

The policy for the show was that phones must be placed in a sealed Yondr case before the show "out of respect and support for our actors and in order to create a phone-free space," according to 2nd Stage Theater's website.

But an audience member had broken the rules of the show, posting the explicit content on social media, sparking a flood of hilarious memes.

"Whoever took one for the team and snuck [a] camera to Broadway to give us these Jesse Williams videos, thanks," one user wrote.

Take Me Out is now being played at the Hayes Theater in New York City, and stars Williams, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Suits actor Patrick J. Adams.

In May 2021, Williams announced his exit from Grey's Anatomy after playing Dr. Jackson Avery for 12 seasons before making the career change from television to the stage.