Empire actress Taraji P. Henson revealed an upsetting dark spot in her past in her new memoir Around the Way Girl.


Henson was in a relationship with William “Mark” Johnson, who once abused her to the point of shedding blood. “The next thing I knew, Mark’s balled-up first was coming straight for my face. I fell onto the bed crying and holding my mouth; blood seeped off my lips and across my teeth,” she writes. “Droplets splashed across my shoes… slowly creeping into the fibres of my suede boots.”

She decided then and there to end the relationship, even though the pair had a young son (born in 1994), but it was really for his own benefit. “This is over!” she yelled. “Get your s–t and get out!”

Johnson was murdered in 2003 at the age of 34. Henson went against her late father’s suggestion to reconcile with Johnson, but she decided against that advice for herself and the sake of her son Marcel. “With that separation, my forever man, my first love, was no more,” she said.

Henson is now a highly esteemed actress, and stars in the critically acclaimed film Hidden Figures, which is out in theaters now.

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