Gillian was born in Los Angeles, CA to parents, Victor and Cheryl Waters. An all around student athlete, Gillian was a star basketball player, Homecoming Queen and a honors student in high school. Gillian wanted to be an FBI agent and received a scholarship from the LAPD to attend Howard University and study Administration of Justice but later changed her major to Human Communication focusing on Intra/Interpersonal Relations and minored in Dramatic Arts.
Gillian married actor, director and martial arts star, Michael Jai White in a ceremony in Thailand. She has two daughters from a previous marriage, Alaia and Niahla, and three stepchildren from her new marriage, Devin, Jai and Morgan.