|Djimon Hounsou Quick Info|
|Height||6 ft 1.5 in|
|Date of Birth||April 24, 1964|
Djimon Hounsou is a Beninese American actor who consistently bagged pivotal roles in coveted Hollywood projects since 1997. He persevered for many years to break the glass ceiling for African-American artists in the entertainment industry. After achieving tremendous success, the actor gives back to his community by supporting various causes and charities working in Africa. He has a huge social media fan base with more than 300k followers on Instagram and more than 500k followers on Facebook.
Djimon Gaston Hounsou (pronounced Hon-su)
Djimon (pronounced Ji-mon)
Cotonou, Benin (formerly known as Dahomey)
Los Angeles, California, United States
- Beninese (By Birth)
- American (Became a naturalized US Citizen in 2007)
Djimon enrolled for a college education to major in Psychology but dropped out due to lack of interest. After that, he became homeless for some time and even found himself scavenging for food every day for his survival.
Actor, Producer, Former Model, Entrepreneur (President and CEO of Fanaticus Entertainment)
- Father – Pierre Hounsou (Cook)
- Mother – Albertine Hounsou (Expired in 1989)
- Siblings – Edmond Hounsou (Older Brother) (Works in Travel Management in Benin). He also has 3 older siblings.
- Others – Oswald aka Ozzie Hounsou (Nephew) (Music Producer, Unit Production Manager of Fanaticus Entertainment), Gael Hounsou (Nephew) (Cinematographer, Media Manager, Director)
Djimon Hounsou is represented by –
- Creative Artists Agency (CAA)
- Peter Safran, The Safran Company
- Somnium Entertainment
- Rogers and Cowan (Publicist)
- Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern LLP
6 ft 1.5 in or 186.5 cm
82 kg or 181 lbs
Girlfriend / Spouse
Djimon Hounsou has dated –
- Victoria Mahoney (1990–1999) – Djimon started dating actress Victoria Mahoney as soon as he settled in the United States. The couple was together for nearly a decade and never attended any red carpet event without each other by their side. They lived together in a Los Angeles apartment. Some publications of the late 1990s even addressed Victoria as Djimon’s wife although evidence of their wedding is not available.
- Debbie Allen – Djimon was rumored to be dating actress, dancer, choreographer, producer and director, Debbie Allen in the past. She was responsible for getting Djimon his breakout role in Steven Spielberg’s Amistad (1997).
- Mishel Thorpe – Djimon was reportedly engaged to Lingerie Bowl model Mishel Thorpe before they broke up. They were spotted together at public events in 2003 and 2004.
- Cameron Diaz (2007) – Paparazzi spotted actress Cameron Diaz with Djimon in February 2007 shortly after the end of her 4-year relationship with Justin Timberlake.
- Kimora Lee (2007–2012) – Djimon was introduced to model and fashion designer Kimora during a dinner with mutual friends at Mr Chow high-end Chinese cuisine restaurant in February 2007 after he returned from the Oscars ceremony. Since Kimora’s marriage had recently ended with entrepreneur Russell Simmons, she was not looking for a relationship and found herself struggling to trust most men. However, Djimon’s personality appeared so compelling and compassionate that she immediately asked him about his relationship status. After dating for a year, Kimora visited the actor’s native country Benin to participate in a commitment ceremony with him in 2008. The couple has a son named Kenzo Lee Hounsou (b. May 2009) named after the Japanese designer, Kenzo Takada. Their relationship ran its course after 5 and a half years, and Kimora confirmed news of separation on Twitter in November 2012. Djimon continues to amicably co-parent his son and often chaperones Kimora’s other children Ming, Aoki, and Wolfe to his movie premieres.
- Kola Boof – Sudanese-American novelist and poet who formerly claimed to be terrorist Osama bin Laden’s mistress in one of her published books released an elaborate statement in 2012 claiming she was partly responsible for the break-up of Djimon Hounsou and Kimora Lee Simmons although financial issues were the primary cause behind their split. Kola stated that she dated Djimon in the early 2000s way before he met Kimora and initiated a 4-year long affair with the actor again in 2008 out of spite against his fashion designer partner. The writer did not clarify her reason for resentment against Kimora. She also revealed that Djimon was formerly married to a woman named Marie in France who supported him during his modeling days and the actor also had a wife and biological children in his home country, Benin as well. In response, actor Djimon Hounsou released a statement denying all the allegations made by Kola. He stated that he did not know the woman and had never met her. Kola later revealed on Twitter that she was also sued for slander by Kimora Lee Simmons.
- Paula Patton (2016–2017) – Actress Paula Patton first met Djimon while filming the romantic comedy Baggage Claim (2013). Tabloids reported their relationship when they were spotted walking hand in hand in the parking lot of Universal Studios in May 2016.
- In December 2018, Djimon arrived with his new girlfriend at the premiere of Aquaman in Hollywood.
Race / Ethnicity
He has Beninese ancestry.
Black (Though usually bald)
- Healthy and rich dark skin tone
- The signature style of maintaining a shaved head with a goatee
- Warm bass-baritone voice
- He was cast in a commercial for Gap Loose Fit Jeans in 2002.
- He became the first African Calvin Klein model when he was featured in global print and outdoor advertising imagery for Calvin Klein Steel, the Fall 2007 product line of the brand.
- As a spokesperson for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), he collaborated with Puma to promote 2010 as the “International Year of Biodiversity”.
He was raised as a Roman Catholic.
However, he later developed an interest in Voodoo, the national religion of Benin and filmed a documentary on it in 2016.
Best Known For
- Portraying the role of Joseph Cinqué in Amistad (1997) and Juba in Gladiator (2000)
- Winning an Academy Award nomination in 2004 for playing Mateo Kuamey in In America (2002)
- Earning another Academy Award nomination in 2007 for playing Soloman Vandy in Blood Diamond (2006) alongside Leonardo DiCaprio
He made his theatrical film debut as the Ex-boyfriend in the musical comedy Without You I’m Nothing in 1990.
His first voice-over role in a theatrical film was for the character of Moise in the American-French Crime film called Killing Zoe in 1994.
First TV Show
He made his first TV show appearance as the Nightclub Doorman in an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 in 1990.
His first voice-over job on TV was for the character of a villager in an episode of the animated show The Wild Thornberrys in 2000.
- Djimon’s first love was football in Benin. He became one of the best players in his region and children from other neighborhoods would often pay him to participate in a game on their behalf. He could not nurture his talent for this sport any longer after his parents sent him to France in his pre-teens.
- Djimon studied Kung Fu and Boxing for many years in France and developed an appreciation for Mixed Martial Arts when he arrived in the USA. The actor insists that lifting weights in the gym and MMA serve as a healthy outlet to release emotional issues and offer spiritual and mental benefits along with physical fitness.
- The LA paparazzi often spot him running outdoors. He wears 5 finger shoes to mimic barefoot running. Djimon meditates to cope with the erratic lifestyle of frequent travel and working with new groups of people. In the early 2000s, he took guidance from personal trainer, nutritionist and trained professional chef, Alexander Denk to follow a sustainable and enjoyable daily diet.
- His sample meal plan released by Men’s Health was as follows:
- Breakfast – Fruit-filled oatmeal with Organic Green Omelet
- Snack – Fruit-filled protein shake
- Lunch – Whole Wheat Turkey Wrap with Spinach leaves
- Dinner – Lean Turkey Chili with Vegetables
Djimon Hounsou Favorite Things
- Vacation – Camping in the Sahara Desert
- Animated Movie – Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988)
Source – CN Traveler, ClotureClub.com
Djimon Hounsou Facts
- While growing up, the actor experienced a lot of loneliness as the youngest child in his family because his parents were busy with their work and brothers had already grown up and left home.
- He speaks English, French and 3 African dialects of Goun, the Beninois language.
- Djimon moved to Lyon, France to live with his older brother Edmond at the age of 12 because his parents wanted him to get an education and become a doctor. However, he was not inclined towards academic studies and secretly dreamt of becoming an entertainer.
- His striking looks and athletic build caught the attention of a photographer who introduced him to fashion designer, Thierry Mugler. The designer helped Djimon get a break in the modeling industry when he was 23 years old and helped him establish himself as a model from 1987 to 1990.
- Djimon settled in Southern California in 1990 and paid his bills by working as a model in music videos.
- During this period, Djimon auditioned for acting roles in the French film industry but faced rejection. He accompanied Thierry Mugler to the United States on a modeling assignment where he saw the potential to realize his dream.
- Djimon first developed a fascination for movies when he would visit the packed movie theatre in his village that did not have TV, to watch American western classics.
- He enjoys horseback riding and polo.
- When Djimon first arrived in the USA, he taught himself English by listening to narration on cable television documentaries. He had to think in French before translating his thoughts in English. Over the years, the actor perfected his command over the English language to the point that he now thinks and even dreams in English.
- In 1989, he was cast in the music videos of Love will Never do (Without you) by Janet Jackson and Express Yourself by Madonna.
- Steven Spielberg considered 150 actors including Will Smith and Cuba Gooding Jr. before he decided to cast Djimon for the role of Cinqué in Amistad (1997).
- Till 1994, he was on the roster of male models represented by Omar’s Men managed by Omar Albertto who also gave a break to Tyrese Gibson and Antonio Sabato Jr. Albertto continued to manage Djimon until 2008.
- He is a global ambassador for aid and development group Oxfam and frequently travels different corners of Africa on humanitarian missions.
- In 2004, Djimon became the 4th African male to get an Oscar nomination when he was nominated for an Academy Award in the category of “Best Supporting Actor” for In America.
- He played Korath the Pursuer in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) and Captain Marvel (2019) in the Marvel Universe and got cast as Fisherman King in Aquaman (2018) and the wizard Shazam in Shazam! (2019) that belongs to the DC extended universe.
- Djimon gave voice to the villain’s character, Drago Bludvist in the global box office success How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014).
- His other roles in big budget commercial productions include a part in Kingsman: The Great Game (2020) and the role of Bosley in Charlie’s Angels (2019).
- To find out more about the actor, follow him on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Featured Image by Control Arms / Flickr / CC BY-2.0