Terrence Howard’s messy personal life is going to result in the thing we all really wanted from Empire in the first place: More Taraji P. Henson.

Because of Howard’s relationship issues—which include a secret divorce from his third wife shortly after the birth of their son, a divorce settlement battle with his second wife and renewed interest in domestic violence accusations from past relationships—sources tell Page Six that Fox will be cutting back his time onscreen. Presumably, everyone at Empire is trying to prevent having a Columbus Short situation on their hands.

On the music drama, the 46-year-old Oscar nominee plays Lucious Lyon, the founder and CEO of Empire Entertainment. At the end of the show’s smash first season, Lucious was arrested for murder, but according to our source, it’s more than a storyline — it’s a calculated move to keep Howard on the sidelines.

“What they are doing is two-fold,” said the source. “They have him locked up so you won’t be seeing him in as many scenes. But they are bringing in so many, and I mean so many, guest stars and cameos that the average viewer won’t realize it because there is so much going on.”

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The suggestion that the jail plot line was written to keep his profile low is questionable; that script obviously would have been written well before all his current issues came to light. However, maybe Lee Daniels and company knew that problems were brewing? Or maybe this source isn’t even being real.

The important thing here is, of course: More Cookie.

Other changes are also in store for the musical drama: Taraji P. Henson’s role as Cookie Lyon will be pushed to the forefront, the insider adds.

“She’s going to start dropping off from the flashback scenes and then they’re going to have her guns blazing,” said the source, who added that it’s a mistake to take away Cookie’s humility.

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Boo hoo and all for Terrence Howard, but anything that brings us more Taraji P. Henson and those racks of glorious furs can’t really be a bad thing.


Contact the author at kara.brown@jezebel.com .

Image via Getty.