It’s been two years since Taraji P. Henson was first spotted holding hands with Kelvin Hayden, a muscly NFL veteran who’s in his early thirties, while on vacation in Miami. Still, even though he’s also appeared on the 47-year-old Empire star’s Instagram feed, Henson hasn’t confirmed anything’s happening between the pair of them until this week, when she finally admitted she was dating the mystery man on Essence‘s Yes, Girl! podcast—though perhaps not exactly of her own volition. “It was all over The Shade Room anyway,” Henson said, referencing the celebrity gossip site whose Instagram has a cult following.
It wasn’t just her invasion of privacy, though, but also what seems to be genuine joy that led Henson to take things public. “I’m not the type to blast my personal business, but you know, I think that it’s important for people to know that I’m happy,” she said. “I’m very, very happy. I just am. We’ve been together for two years. And no one would really know that because I don’t blast my info like that but I’m very happy.”
Hayden, who’s from Chicago, was first drafted into the NFL in 2005 with the Indianopolis Cults, whom he stuck with until 2010 before spending a year with the Atlanta Falcons and finishing up his football career with the Chicago Bears between 2012 and 2014. These days, as his Instagram consistently illustrates, he’s clearly still a fan of the sport, as well as one half of the NFL veterans running KÄRPAĀ DĒEM, a Chicago-based gym.
As of this month, though, he’s also had a new responsibility: being the “daddy” of his new family with Henson, ever since he gave her the early Christmas gift of a bulldog puppy, which Henson then named after her boyfriend, “K-Ball.”
Henson might not be one to blast her personal business, but she has given Hayden several coded shout-outs on her Instagram. In addition to K-Ball, Henson also counts “#ZaddyBear” among her nicknames for him, which definitely seems like a frontrunner if their family ends up being joined by any more pups from Big Boi’s kennel.
Taraji P. Henson Isn’t Afraid of Bold and Beautiful Hair and Makeup
Not everyone can pull off a faux flower hair accessory, but in 2001 (with a few baby braids and a golden smoky eye), Henson did just that.
Not too light, not too dark. The actress demonstrated the perfect hue for highlights at the 2005 premiere of her film, “Hustle & Flow.”
The star donned another pretty plait at the 2006 TNT Black Movie Awards, this time wrapped into a formal updo. With silver eye shadow and flawless skin, Henson proves the best way to make a beauty statement is with one or two strong elements and little else.
Henson can do ladylike, too—like this curled short bob and bright red lip at the “Frankie and Alice” L.A. premiere.
The high pony has taken a break. The top knot is done. Perhaps now models, It girls, and actresses should resurrect the flirty side bun, à la TPH in 2011?
Henson wears her top bun with full bangs and luminous skin at the Sundance Institute Alumni Event in 2012.
Henson’s daring tendencies aren’t limited to her film choices, as this purple lipstick-and-eye shadow combination proves.
Henson paired a pink lip with an emerald green eye at the 2013 365 Black Awards.
Wearing relaxed curls and a magenta pink lip, Henson attended the Think Like A Man Too photo call in 2014.
The actress doesn’t need dramatic makeup to make a statement. With simple glowing skin and subtle fake lashes, Henson glowed in 2014.
With sleek side bangs and colorful smoky eye, Henson looked elegant at the BET Celebration of Gospel in 2014.
Henson stunned with a long fishtail braid, lined eyes, and black and red nail art at the 2015 NAACP Image Awards. That flushed, glowing skin? Most likely a side effect of the Entertainer of the Year Award she took home that night.
The actress smoldered at the 2015 CFDA Awards—she even made our top 10 list “for her sultry everything.”
With a half bun, side braids, long, loose curls, and a golden eye at Spike TV’s Guys Choice 2015 Awards, Henson proves she follows no one’s beauty rules but her own.
The actress wore her hair in bouncy ringlets at the VH1 Big In 2015 event.
Henson took home the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series – Drama at the Golden Globe awards in 2016–and won our award for best haircut at the same time.
At the Women In Film 2016 Crystal + Lucy Awards, Henson wore her hair in a sleek ponytail.
Henson attended a screening of Hidden Figures with her hair in a short, straight bob.
Henson wore her natural curls with sun-kissed skin at the 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards in 2016.
Henson wore her hair in an angular bob with a purple smoky eye as she celebrates her win at the 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards for Hidden Figures in 2017.
Taraji P. Henson at the 2017 Academy Awards.
Taraji P. Henson Gets Down to “I Will Survive”—With a Few Embellishments: