teruko nakagami

The Resilience of Teruko Nakagami


Teruko Nakagami is widely recognized as the beloved partner of the iconic actor Billy Dee Williams. Their enduring love story spans over half a century, serving as a beacon of inspiration for many couples. Their union seemed almost fated, considering they both had previous marriages before finding each other.

Teruko Nakagami holds the title of being Billy Dee Williams’ third wife, yet their journey together wasn’t without its challenges. They faced hurdles, including a period of misunderstanding that led them to file for divorce in 1993. However, despite the difficulties, they ultimately reconciled, choosing to move forward as a united force, still proudly bearing the name Mr. and Mrs. Williams.

Teruko Nakagami Biography:

You know, Billy Dee’s third wife, Teruko Nakagami, has quite an interesting background. Born in California, USA, on August 26, 1967, she is an incredible Japanese American woman. Even at 56 years old, her spirit is still very much alive. Her parents are Japanese, so even though she was born in America, she is also a citizen of Japan, which is amazing.

However, Teruko’s voyage wasn’t without its challenges.She was born Irene Nakagami, and along with her twin sister, she spent her early years on their family fruit farm in the Delano Valley. Life took a harsh turn when she was just 3 years old. The government uprooted her family and sent them to one of those Japanese American internment camps in Arkansas.

Can you imagine the hardship? Tight security, cramped living conditions, and barely any privacy. Teruko recalls how everyone had to eat in this chaotic mess hall, and if you were even a minute late, tough luck. But amidst all that turmoil, she found solace in the games she played with her sister and the other kids. Those were brief but liberating moments in an otherwise depressing world.

Her family relocated to Chicago after the war, and she enrolled at Hyde Park High School there. She continued on to an IBM school after that, blazing a trail through tenacity and fortitude. Teruko’s narrative serves as a monument to the resilience of the human spirit, as she overcame hardship with bravery and grace.

What Does Billy Dee William’s Wife Do For a Living?

Teruko Nakagami’s life story often remains shrouded in mystery, mainly because her fame escalated with her marriage to the illustrious entertainer, Billy Dee Williams. While her current occupation is unclear, historical records indicate she was involved in the recording industry during the 1960s, where fate intertwined her path with Billy Dee’s.

Billy Dee Williams, Teruko’s husband, is a household name in the entertainment industry. He initially graced the stage before captivating audiences on the silver screen. His career kicked off with a notable role in the 1959 film “The Last Angry Man,” paving the way for memorable performances in iconic movies like “Batman” (1989). More recently, he lent his voice to animated hits such as the “Lego Batman Movie” and “Lego Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures,” alongside appearing in “Dirty Dancing.”

Billy Dee pursued his musical interests throughout the 1960s, going so far as to release a solo album called “Let’s Misbehave” in 1961. He also performed on stage. He then turned to writing, writing multiple works like “JUST/In Time” (2001) and “PSI/Net” (1999).

Despite the spotlight often shining on her husband, Teruko Nakagami’s contributions and endeavors remain veiled, adding an air of intrigue to her story.


Full nameTeruko Irene 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 in feet5’5″
Height in cm167
Hair colorBlack
Eye colorDark brown
Marital statusMarried
HusbandBilly Dee Williams
Ex-husbandWayne Shorter
SchoolHyde Park High School
College/UniversityTokyo University of the Arts
ProfessionModel and actress

Billy Dee Williams is Not the First Husband of Teruko Nakagami

Teruko and Williams have been together for what feels like forever, and not many folks might remember that she was married before. She married gifted saxophonist and composer Wayne Shorter in 1961 after meeting him in New York.

Their bond was something special, reflected even in his music. Wayne often reminisced about how stunning Teruko looked when they first crossed paths, likening her to a Japanese Audrey Hepburn. Their connection ran deep enough that Teruko even adopted a new name because of it. Not only did Wayne sing about her, but she also graced the cover of his 1966 album “Speak No Evil.”

Sadly, their love story took a sour turn after six years together, despite welcoming their daughter Miyaki into the world. Miyaki, by the way, opts to keep her life low-key and private.

Teruko’s Husband Billy Dee Williams was Married Twice

Just like Teruko, Billy Dee Williams has had his share of marriages. In fact, he’s been down the aisle twice before, making Teruko his third wife.

His first marriage was with Audrey Sellers back in 1959. They had a son named Carey Dee during their four years together. They sadly parted ways in 1963 as their love tale came to an end.

Williams, who never gives up on love, was captivated by actress and model Marlene Clark. They exchanged vows in 1968 with the intention of leading a happy life. However, they experienced distinct issues in their marriage, and following three years, they decided to file for divorce.

When he met Teruko, he knew he was ready to turn the page on his love life, and he hoped that this time would be no different.

Teruko and Billy Share a Child Together

Teruko and Billy Dee Williams tied the knot back in 1973, and their union blessed them with a daughter named Hanako. Though Hanako keeps a low profile, she’s blossomed into a 50-year-old with a passion for Visual Arts/Art History. Currently, she’s carving her path as an art gallery manager in the vibrant city of Los Angeles.

Hanako found love with Liam Toohey, and together they’ve built a beautiful family. Their two children, Lucie Katsumi and Finnegan Ichiro, bring joy and laughter into their lives. With these little ones around, Teruko and Billy have proudly embraced the role of grandparents, cherishing each moment with their grandchildren.

Teruko Nakagami’s Career

Teruko Nakagami started her journey as a fashion lover, diving into design from a young age. She snagged an amazing scholarship that whisked her off to Paris, where she not only studied fashion design but also dipped her toes into modeling. You might’ve even caught her dazzling in commercials for big names like Givenchy and Christian Dior while she was there!

But Teruko’s story took an unexpected turn when she stepped into the world of acting. It all began with a documentary called “Boys’ Lives” back in 1990, marking her debut on screen. Prior to her breakout role as “Ana” in the Japanese film “Crazy Vacation” in 1994, she was not very well-known.

With her captivating appearances in several TV shows and movies, Teruko has now established herself as a prominent figure in the entertainment business. But it was her legendary portrayal of “Daimyo” in the Star Wars spinoff “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” that really cemented her reputation as a household figure in the performing world.

Facts about Teruko Nakagami:

  • Birth and Background: Teruko Nakagami, born Irene Nakagami on August 26, 1946, in California, USA, is of Japanese descent. Her early years were spent on a fruit farm in Delano Valley, California, until her family was relocated to an internment camp during World War II.
  • Resilience: Despite the hardships of internment, Teruko found solace in playing games with her twin sister and other children. After the war, her family resettled in Chicago, where she attended Hyde Park High School before pursuing further education at an IBM school.
  • Career: Teruko initially ventured into the fashion world, studying design in Paris and modeling for renowned brands like Givenchy and Christian Dior. However, she later transitioned into acting, making her screen debut in a documentary in 1990 and gaining prominence with roles in Japanese films like “Crazy Vacation” (1994) and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”
  • Marriages and Family: Teruko was previously married to saxophonist Wayne Shorter, with whom she had a daughter named Miyaki. She later married actor Billy Dee Williams in 1973, and they have a daughter named Hanako. Hanako is now married with children of her own, making Teruko and Billy proud grandparents.
  • Personal Life: Teruko, now 77 years old, holds dual citizenship in the United States and Japan. She currently resides in the United States with her husband Billy Dee Williams.


Teruko Nakagami’s life is a testament to resilience and reinvention. Born amidst the turmoil of World War II internment, she overcame adversity to pursue a career in fashion and later transitioned into acting, leaving an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. Her enduring partnership with Billy Dee Williams, spanning over five decades, is a symbol of enduring love and commitment.


What is Teruko Nakagami’s occupation?

Teruko Nakagami has had a diverse career, initially working in the fashion industry as a designer and model before transitioning into acting. She has appeared in various TV shows and movies, gaining recognition for her roles, including in the Star Wars franchise.

How many marriages has Teruko Nakagami had?

Teruko Nakagami was previously married to saxophonist Wayne Shorter before marrying actor Billy Dee Williams in 1973, making Williams her second husband.

Does Teruko Nakagami have children?

Yes, Teruko Nakagami has two children. She had a daughter named Miyaki with her first husband Wayne Shorter and a daughter named Hanako with Billy Dee Williams.

Where does Teruko Nakagami currently reside?

Teruko Nakagami currently resides in the United States with her husband Billy Dee Williams.

What is Teruko Nakagami’s age?

As of January 2024, Teruko Nakagami is 77 years old.

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