Zoe McLellan is an American actress who is best recognized for her roles on the small screen. She has played significant roles in numerous TV shows, including JAG where she portrayed Petty Officer Jennifer Coates, Dirty Sexy Money as Lisa George, NCIS: New Orleans where she played the female lead of Agent Meredith Brody and the ABC political drama Designated Survivor where she currently plays White House Counsel Kendra Daynes. The acclaimed TV series also stars Keifer Sutherland as the President of the United States.
Beyond her onscreen life, Zoe has lived quite an interesting life. Her divorce and the drama that followed suit cannot be ignored while talking about the life of the actress. We give you all the facts you need to know.
Early Life of Zoe McLellan
Zoe McLellan was born on the 6th of November, 1974, in La Jolla, California. She grew up in Washington in a closely knitted family. Her childhood included visits to the San Juan Islands during the summer where they would go kayaking and host big family meals by the beach. McLellan has Irish roots and a good number of her family members now reside in New Orleans.
From a very young age, McLellan knew she wanted to become an actress. Post-fame, she recalled telling one of her aunties as a kid that she “wanted to be inside the TV.” From the age of 7, she had begun taking acting classes and soon started auditioning for roles. Her high school education was accomplished at South Kitsap High School in Port Orchard, Washington and there, she was crowned the homecoming queen in 1992.
Zoe’s Career Growth From TV Commercials to a TV Star
At the age of 21, in 1995, McLellan began her acting career professionally. She kicked it off by doing commercials and auditioning for parts in TV and films in Seattle. She would spend the first few years of her career honing her craft in Seattle, preparing herself for the big scene – Hollywood.
Five years into her career, Zoe McLellan got her first major role in the fantasy film, Dungeons & Dragons. The following year. she got her first major television role in the legal drama, JAG. She joined the show as a recurring character in the 7th season but was promoted to a main character by the 10th season.
From then onward, McLellan seemed to focus more on television. More notable role soon followed in the ABC primetime series, Dirty Sexy Money, which was sadly short-lived. Mclellan has revealed that the role was one she wished would have lasted a little longer. Zoe’s next major television role was that of Agent Meredith Brody in NCIS which graduated to the main role in NCIS: New Orleans.
The series premiered in September 2014 and is still running, however, McLellan left the show for another gig. She has had guest parts in successful shows like Suits, House, The Mentalist, and Royal Pains. Also, beyond her TV career, she has acted in films like Conversations with God, One Fall, as well as short films like Person, Place or Thing, and Inside Out.
Apart from acting, Zoe McLellan is passionate about inspirational speaking. She has once had the opportunity to address the Messenger Summit. A huge fan of pop star Katy Perry, McLellan also enjoys singing and songwriting. She once performed her own song at the King King Club in Hollywood.
Her Marriage with Jean-Pierre Guy Gillain, Divorce and Abduction Charges
McLellan seems to be riding solo at this time but she was once married to actor Jean-Pierre Guy Gillain. The duo enjoyed a blissfull union after their wedding in February 2012, expanding their circle with the birth of their son, Sebastian, in 2013. Sadly, their union came crashing down the next year (2014), when they separated.
During these trying times, McLellan was seen less on TV and totally withdrawn from social media. This got many of her fans worried and they began to ask questions about her whereabouts. She later spoke out through her fundraising website and let her fans in on the troubled marital life she was trying to navigate out of. According to her, while fighting for custody of her son, the boy who had been suffering from emotional issues for years revealed that his father had been sexually abusing him on a regular basis for a very long time. McLellan revealed that her husband told their son that if he spoke out, no one would believe him.
However, following the successes the little boy recorded after months of professional trauma treatment, he mustered enough courage to finally report his father to the law enforcement body. At the moment, reports have it that this case is still unfolding as no charges have been filled in this regard.
On the other hand, McLellan and Gillain later finalized their divorce in 2016 with McLellan filing and winning the custody battle of their son, a move that didn’t go down well with Gillain. Due to fear of losing their child, McLellan was sued by her ex-husband who accused her of abducting their child to Canada when she relocated to the country for the filming of Designated Survivor. Fortunately for McLellan, stating that relocating because of work didn’t mean she was abducting their kid. Gillain had thought it was her way of distancing the kid from him. He now pays child support of about $4,000 monthly.
What has Zoe McLellan Been up to Recently?
Zoe McLellan continues to act to this day, however, her career looked a bit threatened after it was reported that ABC had canceled Designated Survivor. Nonetheless, four months later, Netflix and Entertainment One which both handled distribution for the series, picked up the show for another season.
It would have been a big hit on McLellan if the show remained canceled as she had to forgo her role on NCIS and relocate to Toronto, Canada, where Designated Survivor was being shot. The relocation also landed her in a court case as mentioned earlier.
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Since after divorcing from her husband and also winning custody of their son, Zoe has been devoting her free time to looking after her son and also help him heal. She has also been raising awareness on her Instagram page about children being sexually abused by adults and the need to protect and fight for these children.
In addition to creating awareness about child sexual abuse cases, Zoe McLellan has pledged to use the remainder of the money raised for her child’s sexual abuse fundraising campaign to fight for and carter for other children who were sexually abused. She has proposed to call this campaign the “Believe The Child Campaign.” According to Zoe, it will be a non-profit organization that will provide legal and medical help to children who were sexually abused. She stated that her need for doing this is hinged on the fact that cases of child sexual abuse are seen as a private crime and oftentimes, it is difficult for law enforcement to prosecute the accused. She stated that she will take it upon herself to present the evidence of any child sexual abuse case to the family court.
With regards to her relationship life, in a recent edition of People’s Mom Talk, Zoe McLellan while speaking with 3 other celebrity mothers (Real Housewives of New York City – Kelly Killoren Bensimon, Jacqueline Piñol of Bordertown, and blogger and YouTube sensation Mindy McKnight) disclosed that she is not dating anyone at the moment. In her own words, she “needs to figure out” how to date as a single mother. She also admitted that it’s hard meeting men as a single mom.