Taraji P. Henson is not only the star of Empire, but she is also one of the most talented actresses in Hollywood at the moment. Though fans already know a lot about Henson, you might be surprised to know some of the facts we’ve unearthed.
Henson started her career working in television, but in the past 10 years, she’s been in a number of movies, including The Curious Case of Benjamin Button — for which she got an Oscar nomination — Hidden Figures, and Hustle And Flow. Here are five fast facts about the Empire star!
1. Life Imitates Art
Everyone knows Taraji P. Henson’s character in Empire goes by Cookie, but it sounds like the actress also went by that prior to landing the role! In fact, friends used to call her “Cookie” back in her college days.
2. Tragic Ending
Henson has one son named Marcell Johnson who was born in 1994. However, his father, William Lamar Johnson, was tragically murdered in 2003. He and Henson were high school sweethearts but the two never married.
3. Beauty and Brains
Before deciding to become an actress, Henson actually studied to become an electrical engineer at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. However, she decided to transfer to Howard University to pursue theater.
4. Working Her Way
Henson needed to work two jobs while going to college, and they couldn’t have been more different. She worked as a secretary at The Pentagon in the mornings but in the evenings, she was a singing and dancing waitress on a dinner cruise ship.
5. Ancestry Explorers
One of the great explorers was named Matthew Henson. He actually explored the North Pole and is related to Henson! He is apparently the brother of her great-great-grandfather, Joseph Henson.