Taraji Penda Henson
Taraji P. Henson, TJ, Cookie
Washington, D.C., United States
In 1988, she graduated from Oxon Hill High School in Oxon Hill, Maryland. Post that, she went to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University in Greensboro, North Carolina and even studied engineering and science at the University of the District of Columbia, but soon after got transferred to Howard University in Washington, D.C. From there, she completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1995.
- Father – Boris Lawrence Henson (Janitor and Metal Fabricator)
- Mother – Bernice Gordon (Corporate Manager at Woodward & Lothrop)
- Siblings – None
She is signed with Vincent Cirrincione Associates.
Southern Hip Hop, Crunk
Not signed with any.
5 ft 4 in or 163 cm
60 kg or 132 pounds
Boyfriend / Spouse
Taraji P. Henson has dated –
- William Johnson (1986-1994) – She dated her high school sweetheart, William Johnson from September 1986 to October 1994. During this time, while she was still in junior college, she also got pregnant and gave birth to a son named Marcell Johnson in 1994.
- Tyrese Gibson (1995-2002) – From January 1995 to November 2002, she was romantically linked ON and OFF with singer and actor Tyrese Gibson. They ended their relationship 5 times during these 8 years. She is about 9 years his senior. During these 8 years, they had two children from the relationship, viz., Jody (born, July 23, 1997) and Jordenn (born, June 17, 2003).
- Hill Harper (2002-2005) – For the next three and a half years, from April 2002 to October 2005, she dated actor Hill Harper.
- Common (2005-2007) – She started dating rapper Common in October 2005 after she appeared in his music video “Testify.” They dated for more than a year until February 2007.
- Lamar Odom (2008-2009) – Taraji, then started dating basketball player, Lamar Odom in December 2008. He is about 1.5 feet taller than her and roughly 10 years younger than her. They dated for around eight months and split in August 2009.
- Aubrey Graham (2010) – In June 2010, she commenced dating Canadian rapper, Aubrey Graham. But, this relationship also saw an end in September 2010.
- Michael Ealy (2012) – Taraji had fling with actor Michael Ealy after meeting him on the set of Think Like a Man (2012).
- Kelvin Hayden (2015) – NFL player Kelvin Hayden and Taraji were RUMORed to had fling in December 2015 when they were photographed together holding each other’s hands during a holiday in Miami, Florida.
Race / Ethnicity
- Multi-talented personality
- Bob Cut hairstyle
38-28-37 in or 96.5-71-94 cm
12 (US) or 44 (EU) or 16 (UK)
7 (US) or 37.5 (EU) or 4.5 (UK)
She was named as the ambassador of American Black Film Festival (ABFF) in 2015.
Best Known For
Portraying Shug in 2005 independent drama film Hustle & Flow, and as Queenie in the 2008 romantic fantasy drama film The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
She is also known for playing the lead role as Cookie Lyon in Fox’s drama series Empire since 2015.
She made her debut as a singer by contributing vocals to Three 6 Mafia (also known as Da Mafia 6ix) track “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” which appeared in the movie Hustle & Flow.
This song, in 2006, won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
Taraji made her film debut with 2000 live-action / animated adventure comedy film The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle as a left-wing student.
First TV Show
She appeared in three episodes from 1997 to 1998 in The WB’s sitcom Smart Guy for her role as Mo’Nique.
Taraji is a fitness freak and sometimes, when she is short on time, goes directly from the airport to the gym. Taraji exercises under the presence of trainer Mike T of Force Fitness. She works out with him 5 to 7 days in a week and they do weight training, along with short sprints on the treadmill.
She can do weighted squats with more than 180 pounds weight on her back.
She also has cheat days once in a week to keep her going. She is a foodie and does not diet much. But, of course, if she has to prepare for a role, she may go on a strict diet and workout routine.
Taraji P. Henson Favorite Things
- Foods – Pasta, gummi bears
- Song From Empire – You’re So Beautiful
- Washington D.C. Restaurants – Chinese spots, The Wharf
Source – Glamour.com, Bet.com, Radio.com
Taraji P. Henson Facts
- Her first and middle names “Taraji” and “Penda” have been taken from Swahili language. They mean “hope” and “love” respectively.
- While attending Howard University in Washington D.C., she used to work in the mornings as a secretary at The Pentagon so that she could pay for her college. This is not all. She even used to work in the evenings as a singing-dancing waitress on a cruise ship called Spirit of Washington.
- She has no siblings and is the only child of her parents.
- Taraji is a great-great cousin of North Pole explorer, Matthew Henson.
- She supports People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and has appeared n*de in one of their ad campaigns in January 2011.
- She has appeared in an ad for same-sex marriage by NOH8 Campaign in February 2015.
- She is good at cooking and Mary J. Blige is a fan of her chili dish, which Taraji says is her signature dish.
- She had the nickname ‘Cookie’ in college.
- Taraji was once named as the class clown at Ballou High.
- She once won a lasagna cook-off.