Empire Cast’s Real-Life Couples
This fall, we have a chance to watch the sixth and final season of "Empire" to say goodbye to the show's stellar cast. Before that happens, let's take a closer look at the stars' lives.
"Empire" hit our screens almost five years ago, and during all this time, we've enjoyed the plot, narration, and work of the actors.
But how much do you know about the show's cast? We're ready to tell you all the details about the Empire actors' real lives and their partners!
Bryshere Y. Gray (Hakeem Lyon)
Yazz The Greatest or simply Yazz is also Bryshere Y. Gray, aka Hakeem Lyon. The future star achieved remarkable results in sports while playing football in the Overbrook High School team, but life comes with its lows as it often happens.
Due to some trauma that Bryshere got at the age of 16, he had to look for alternate ways to grow his career. He started as a street performer to make some money and help his mother raise him alone.
Soon, Bryshere's talent was noticed by others. He got a manager who helped him get into line ups of big music fests and introduced him to the director of this very same project on Fox.
After joining the cast of "Empire," Gray's acting and musical career started going soaring. Today, he has contracts with Fox and Columbia Records and is considered one of the most prospective hip-hop performers.
Taraji P. Henson (Cookie Lyon)
Taraji P. Henson did an excellent portrayal of Cookie Lyon. Before that, the actress starred in movies such as “Date Night,” “The Karate Kid,” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”
She was even nominated for an Oscar, SAG Award, and Critics Choice Award for the latter. Taraji made a few remarkable appearances on TV, but the role in "Empire" was definitely her brightest.
Henson's off-screen journey towards a partnered life has as many surprising twists as her on-screen plot. In 1994 Taraji gave birth to a son with her high-school sweetheart William Lamar Johnson.
She got pregnant while still a student at Howard University, and she was often told that it was the end of her career because of it. But as the actress says, she didn't miss a single class, she got a role in a graduation play and then went to conquer LA with a baby and only $700 in her pocket.
"My father was like, "Leave him home." I said, "I can't leave my son at home." [And eventually] my father said, "That's your baby. That's your blessing. He's going to be your strength," Taraji shared.
The baby's father, William, was killed in 2003 due to a domestic dispute with a married couple. As a result, Henson became a widow with a nine-year-old son.
The tragedy should have broken her down, but many years after that, while commenting on that situation in an interview with I Love Old School Music, Taraji showed her inner strength and even her ability to philosophically view the problem.
After all the trouble she went through, fate seemed to be kinder to Henson. Last year she got engaged to successful football cornerback Kelvin Hayden, 13 years younger than she is.
It's already been announced that the couple set a wedding date for April 2020, and the bride's dress is going to be designed by the living legend Vera Wang.
Trai Byers (Andre Lyon)
The role in "Empire" was a breakthrough for Trai, but it was a rather difficult one for him. The character Andre Lyon suffers from bipolar disorder, and even though many actors and creative people have it and are aware of it, Trai didn't.
He had to study the behavior of the people with such disorders to get through all the mood swings that diagnosed people go through.The role was successful, and many viewers loved Byers, but it wasn't just success that he received from the show but also love. In 2015 Trai started dating his co-star Grace Gealey who played the character, Anika.
The very same year at the show FABlife they confessed to being engaged. A year after, they had a beautiful wedding at Grand Cayman Island.
Jussie Smollett (Jamal Lyon)
At the beginning of this year, the press blew up about Jussie Smollett's fake assault case. However, the police solved that mystery rather quickly when they found out that staged assault was just Jussie's attempt to get a higher salary on the "Empire" show.
After this incident, the Fox producers decided to take the actor off the show's cast list. Although, we have to admit that Smollett was the perfect fit for the role of Jamal Lyon. His character's story was inspired by the personal account of the showrunner of "Empire," Lee Daniels.
At the age of 19, Jussie Smollett came out to his parents, and in 2015 he openly admitted to being gay on Ellen Degeneres's show. The rumors were that Smollett was dating his former onscreen lover, Rafael de la Fuente.
It's clear that Jussie doesn't like talking about his personal life too much and usually tries to concentrate on his professional achievements.
Now, with the end of his role in "Empire," Smollett will keep doing art, and his plans include staging a Broadway show and directing a movie.
Terrence Howard (Lucious Lyon)
Having started his career in the '90s, Terrence Howard managed to become famous in the middle of the 2000s and even got an Oscar nomination for his role in the movie "Hustle & Flow."
Terrence also portrayed James Rhodes in the first "Iron Man" film and was supposed to come back, but his contract was terminated. Sources report that Terrence was supposed to get $8.5 million, double his payment for part 1.
Howard's personal life is just as tricky and full of intrigue as his professional path. He was married four times but only to three women.
In 1989, Howard married Lori McCommas - an American homemaker from New York. The couple welcomed three children, but their life wasn't as smooth as they'd hoped for.
In 2009 his relationship problems got published on the website The Smoking Gun. Terrence and Lori started living separately back in 2001.
According to the police report, once he came to her house after an argument on the phone, he forced entry into her home by breaking in doors and chased her into the backyard, where he punched her.
In 2002, he pleaded guilty to disturbing the peace. In 2010 Terrence got married to a commercial production employee Michelle Ghent. However, this marriage wasn't very successful either as the couple got a divorce.
Ghent left her spouse, asking for $1 million in spousal support. The second spouse and the first one accused Howard of being physically abusive towards her.
In 2013 the star of "Empire" got married for the third time to a former model and restaurateur Mira Pak. They met in the middle of the day in one of the LA restaurants, and three weeks later, they got married.
The couple welcomed two children together, but this marriage couldn't handle the star's temper either. They got a divorce in 2015, and a year later, he got engaged again! We don't know if anything good will come out of this, but we'll definitely keep you informed!