Jennifer Chiba Bio: Who Is This Controversial Musician?

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Jennifer Chiba is a name you may or may not have heard. I didn’t until recently. She started her music career as the singer for the band Happy Ending. She’s also known for dating musician Elliott Smith — and since his death, there have been controversies surrounding her. Do you want to learn more about Jennifer Chiba? Learn more about the singer by reading my Jennifer Chiba bio!

Jennifer Chiba Quick Facts

  • Full name: Jennifer Chiba
  • Birth date: June 17, 1967
  • Birthplace: Tokyo, Japan
  • Nickname: N/A
  • Nationality: Japanese-American
  • Zodiac sign: Gemini
  • Siblings: Alexander Masao Chiba and Miho Chiba Yates
  • Children: N/A
  • Partner/spouse: Alex Whomsley
  • Most successful songs/albums: N/A
  • Net worth: $700,000
  • Social media: N/A
  • Awards: N/A

Early Life

Jennifer Chiba was born in Tokyo, Japan, on June 17, 1967. She was born to an American mother, Sharon Martha Wee, and a Japanese father, Hiroyasu Chiba. Her parents later moved to the U.S., where they married in Becker, Minnesota. They settled in Texas, raising Jennifer and her two siblings, Alexander and Miho.

Jennifer attended Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. After, she attended Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California, where she received a Master of Arts degree in Clinical Art Therapy. As of 1995, Jennifer has been a licensed family and marriage therapist.

Music Career

Jennifer Chiba was in a few bands while living in LA. She joined the drone/psychedelic rock band The Warlocks as a bass player, but she’s best known for singing in the alternative rock band Happy Ending. The band became popular in LA, signing to the Org Record Label.

The band started touring and opened up for rock singer/songwriter Elliott Smith. Smith also produced the band’s singles. He will remain a major part of Jennifer Chiba’s life, but I will mention him later.

Even though Happy Ending was gaining traction, they never released a full-length album.

Jennifer Chiba Now

Today, she’s a full-time family and marriage therapist. She started working in different residential treatments before starting her own business. Her private practice focuses on art therapy and psychotherapy, focusing on families, children, and individuals. She still lives in Los Angeles but lives peacefully away from the media. She is in a band called Hello Menno. They have played gigs around LA but don’t seem very active.

Dating and Relationship History

jennifer chiba and eliott smith

Even though Jennifer Chiba is a musician and has experienced some success in music, she’s best known for dating some extraordinary musicians. Here’s a breakdown of her most famous ex-boyfriends, other partners, and her current marriage.

Elliott Smith

Jennifer Chiba is famous for dating singer/songwriter Elliott Smith until his death. There are many different stories as to how the two met. The most reliable story is Chiba met Smith when he was watching her band, The Warlocks. The two started talking and realized they had a lot in common. They exchanged numbers and stayed friends, eventually becoming lovers. This account was from Chiba herself.

It’s also evident that the two abused drugs together, and Chiba even sold drugs to Elliott. Elliott Smith abused substances, specifically alcohol, heroin, and crack cocaine, and drugs were a big part of their relationship. One person claims that she did sell him drugs but eventually stopped. This account was from an anonymous source.

I can see why this may be factual, but I wouldn’t trust it 100%. However, other rock music writers trust this account more than Chiba’s story, which I can also understand why.

The other myth is Chiba forced herself on Smith’s lap while at a party. The story alleges that Smith initially wasn’t interested in Chiba, and she was trying to get his attention. Again, this was from another anonymous source. This story contradicts other stories, so I wouldn’t trust it.

Regardless of how they met, the world knows they had a toxic relationship, and drugs made the abuse much worse. Smith tried to get clean a few times, but Chiba was still abusing substances. Fans also know that Smith suffered from depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and the singer/songwriter had an abusive childhood.

Those close to Smith claimed that Chiba was erratic, manipulative, and violent toward her late partner.

Rivers Cuomo

Jennifer Chiba also dated Weezer’s lead singer and guitar player, Rivers Cuomo, on and off from 1992 to 1995. Rivers wrote most songs off their debut and Pinkerton albums were written by Chiba. I’m not finding many concrete facts about their relationship, but it didn’t seem like a serious relationship. Cuomo said that he would stay with Chib while he was in-between places to live. She wanted a serious relationship, and he was focused on his band. The pair would end up arguing, and he would leave.

There are many rumors about their relationship. Some that they did drugs together, but this isn’t confirmed. I can’t confirm if Cuomo was ever really a drug user, though it definitely seems like he doesn’t do drugs now.

Other Relationships

Some sources say that Jennifer Chiba dated an Elliott Smith fan after his death. Smith’s fan claims that Chiba was violent toward him and was manipulative throughout the entire relationship. Apparently, she would coerce him to commit suicide and guilt-tripped him.

Alex Whomsley

Jennifer Chiba is currently married to Alex Whomsley. They still live in Los Angeles, CA, but live a quiet life and have stayed out of the media. I can’t find any more information about Alex Whomsley or his marriage to Jennifer Chiba.

Controversies and Scandals

jennifer chiba

Jennifer Chiba has received bad publicity, mainly because of her role in Elliott Smith’s death. His death was ruled a suicide, but there’s speculation that it was actually murder.

The Death of Elliott Smith

Jennifer Chiba was the only one to witness Elliott Smith’s death, so we can only trust her word. On October 21, 2003, Chiba and Smith got into an argument. Chiba got so upset she locked herself in the bathroom. She left the bathroom when she heard Elliott screaming and found him with a knife stuck in his chest. Two cuts were visible.

Chiba called 911, and an ambulance arrived. They tried to revive him, but it wasn’t enough. Smith died a little over an hour after Chiba called 911.

Suicide or Murder?

There is evidence that Elliott’s death was a suicide, though many people still think Chiba murdered her boyfriend. While suicide by stabbing is uncommon, it does happen.

After his death, police questioned Chiba. Smith did leave behind a suicide note. Elliott Smith also suffered from depression. He attempted suicide before and engaged in other reckless behavior, such as walking on train tracks at night. He would regularly threaten suicide to Chiba and even told his friends that he would be ending his life.

At the same time, there is evidence that this was a murder. Smith didn’t have any hesitation wounds, but Smith did have wounds on his arms and hands, which indicate he was defending himself. The knife was also dislodged from his chest.

It’s important to note that Elliott Smith’s case is still open, though other sources claim the case is closed with his death ruling as “undetermined.”

Allegations Against Jennifer Chiba

Jennifer Chiba is suspected of having involvement with his death, and police considered her a person of interest.

Many people have a reason to suspect foul play. Elliott Smith confided in his sound engineer, saying that Chiba chased him around with a knife after one of their arguments. Many people close to Smith said they witnessed domestic abuse, saying Chiba started hitting him. Others claim that Chiba had a violent temper and was generally unpredictable. It’s said that Chiba has borderline personality disorder, though it’s only a speculation. Of course, there are claims that they had a toxic relationship and abused drugs.

It’s difficult to say what exactly happened. I will admit the situation is extremely sketchy. Still, foul play was never proven. We know that Chiba was there during Smith’s death, and that’s all we may ever know.

Elliott Smith’s Estate

After Elliott Smith’s death, he left his family his estate. However, Jennifer Chiba didn’t get any access to his estate. She sued the family, claiming she was entitled to a portion since the couple lived together. She also alleges that he vowed to take care of her financially for her entire life in the form of an oral agreement. Chiba also alleges that she acted as his manager and agent and claims she was entitled to 15% of his estate (which equaled more than $1 million).

Chiba also attacked Elliott’s stepmother, Marta Greenwald, who represents his estate. Chiba claimed that Martha “opportunistically sought to assert total control over Elliott’s assets and affairs.”

Chiba also claims that Greenwald “wanted to take control of Elliott’s intellectual property and master tapes (including unreleased work) and maximize their commercial appeal for monetary gain.” Chiba also claims that Smith was estranged from his stepmother, but there’s proof that Smith was very close to his entire family.

The court ruled that she couldn’t collect on Elliott Smith’s estate. Even though she booked gigs for him, she acted as an unlicensed talent agent. The couple did have a cohabitation agreement, but she still didn’t win the lawsuit.

After losing her lawsuit to collect on Elliott Smith’s estate, she sued her lawyer, Ron Gold. She accused him of malpractice, egregious professional negligence, breach of contract, and he added superfluous allegations that were fatal to Chiba’s claims. However, I can’t find the results of this lawsuit.

Net Worth and Career Earnings

There are a lot of inconsistencies here. One source says her earnings are $700,000, while others say she’s worth as much as $4 million. Some say her net worth is as little as $250,000. The important thing to note is Chiba didn’t collect on Smith’s estate, so these figures tell me that Chiba’s private therapy practice is very successful.


Question: Did Jennifer Chiba murder Elliott Smith?

Answer: We don’t know. The case is either open or closed with the cause of death undetermined (the media and detectives say different things). Chiba has definitely been accused of murder and was a person of interest after his death, but there have been no arrests or formal rulings. As of now, Elliott Smith’s death is still a mystery.

Question: Does Jennifer Chiba play guitar?

Answer: It’s unclear. She’s best known as a singer but also plays bass. I’ve never seen her with a guitar, just playing bass.

Question: How old is Jennifer Chiba?

Answer: Chiba was born in June 1967, making her 55.

Bottom Line

Jennifer Chiba is a musician best known for her role as a singer in the band Happy Ending. She also played in The Warlocks and Hello Menno. However, Elliott Smith fans know Chiba as Smith’s toxic ex-girlfriend who may have been involved in his death. Jennifer Chiba was born in Tokyo, Japan, but was raised in Texas. She now lives in Los Angeles, CA, with her husband, Alex Whomsley.

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