Is “Empire” star Taraji P. Henson dating former NFL pro Kelvin Hayden?
Speculation arose this week after E! News posted a photo of Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominee Henson, 45, walking hand-in-hand on a Miami beach Monday with the six-season Indianapolis Colts player, 32. Us Weekly and People magazines subsequently ran a different photo of the two the same day, with Henson wearing an Emilio Pucci bikini with matching shorts and carrying a Chanel handbag, and Hayden in red board shorts.
Us added that according to an eyewitness, the two had a dinner date Sunday night at the Miami Beach steakhouse Prime 112, in the historic Browns Hotel.
Neither has commented on social media, and Henson’s representative did not return a Newsday request for comment.
Henson — whose long and prolific career has included a 2008 Academy Award-nomination and who has been acclaimed for her acclaimed portrayal of ruthless record-company executive Cookie Lyon on Fox’s “Empire” — has never married. While a junior at Howard University, she became pregnant with her son, Marcell, who was born in 1994. The child’s father, Henson’s high-school sweetheart William Johnson, was murdered in Washington in 2003. Hayden, who after the Colts played a season each with the Atlanta Falcons and the Chicago Bears, does not appear ever to have married.
The actress told Harper’s Bazaar magazine in August that her ideal partner “is funny, has personality, he doesn’t take himself too seriously. He needs to be confident in who he is, confident to let me be who I am. And let me shine, you know? My light is only going to enhance his light.”
In January, she had lamented about her love life to talk-show host Wendy Williams, saying, “It’s hard to date. Guys don’t court anymore. They don’t court! Take me out to dinner! Say you’re gonna pick me up at a certain time! I remember dating should be an event, you know? You like the guy, so you get pretty for him . . . Whatever happened to that?”