Taraji Henson Has Battled Against All Odds To Rise To The Hollywood Fame She Has Today.
Taraji is a talented actress who people will recognize anywhere and anytime.
She's a successful film and television actress with roles in Baby Boy, Hustle & Flow, Empire, and more. She's also incredibly charismatic! Every time she shows up at an award show, she somehow manages to go viral with her speeches or adorable reactions.
But what most people don't know is that Taraji P. Henson has a very interesting past. A dark one.
I will warn you beforehand that it's a heartbreaking story.
#12 She lost the father of her child.
Taraji's former boyfriend, William LaMarr Johnson, the father of her 20-year-old son, Marcell, was brutally beaten and knifed to death 12 years ago.
She met Johnson while she was attending Howard University in Washington D.C., and she became pregnant during her junior year.
#11 Bad Boy
Even at the time, Henson realized that Johnson might get caught up in some trouble.
"I had my one bad boy," she remembers.
What happened to Johnson is eerily reminiscent of some of the plot lines in Henson's show, "Empire."
In 2003, Johnson confronted neighbors in the D.C. apartment and accused them of slashing his friend's tires. A fight broke out, and the neighbors beat Johnson to the ground before stabbing him multiple times.
Johnson left behind Henson and their son, Marcell.
"His dad was murdered when Marcell was 9," Henson says of her son. "He's had to deal with life in a way that a lot of young kids haven't yet."
The neighbors were both convicted and sentenced to prison.
While that provided some sense of justice for Henson and her son, the convictions were only a small part of their uphill battle to find peace.
#8 Single Mom
For a long time, Henson struggled as a single mom to Marcell.
She was living on welfare at the time, and continued to pursue her acting career. It was difficult, but she persevered.
#7 Wept for him
Marcell was just nine years old at the time.
"We would sit and weep about it," Henson said. "Do I mourn for him? Absolutely. I wish my son had his dad."
#6 Everything happens for a reason
But there's a part of Henson that believes everything happens for a reason.
"But sometimes things line up and they have to happen and we don't know why," she said.
#5 Real Life
And in a lot of ways, it feels like her real-life experiences inform her work.
Her character on "Empire," as well as "Hustle & Flow" had to deal with real-life pain and violence, something tells us that in order to act those parts, Henson is drawing on something real.
#4 Mother and Son
And because of their tragedy, Henson and her son have an extraordinarily strong bond.
Marcell is 20 years old now, and he's about to transfer to Howard University, the same place where his mom went and where his life began.
#3 Not an easy road
As far as Henson, she's definitely overcome the odds.
Things aren't easy for black actresses in Hollywood, but it's safe to say that Henson's career is on fire.
#2 Like Mother,Like Son
While her son works hard at college, Henson is working her career.
Her role as Cookie Lyons on "Empire" is definitely one of the most entertaining things to watch on TV and she's not slowing down.
#1 Long way
Henson realizes just how far she's come.
"This journey is not over," she said in an interview about her career. "I've come a long way from 'Aye, that's that girl from Baby Boy' to now people know how to pronounce my name."
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