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It’s hard to believe Empire is currently airing its sixth and final season on Fox. The show has already premiere with a pretty shocking opener, but despite the cliffhanger season premiere, the larger absence that may be felt is that of Jussie Smollett. Now, Terrence Howard is speaking out about his feelings related to the actor missing from the show.
While Terrence Howard did not address any of the allegations still being lobbied against the actor, he did say he personally has missed Jussie Smollett on the set of Empire during production so far in Season 6.
Jussie has been the heart of the show. He's been my son for six years, you know, and I miss my son. Yeah he does [feel like my son]. You can’t help [feeling emotional]. This is real life that we’re talking about, we’re not talking about dingleberries and applesauce. This is real life.
As for Terrence Howard, this isn’t the first time the actor has spoken out in support of Jussie Smollett. He’s mentioned previously he feels like Jussie Smollett is someone he’s “called my son” across the time they’ve spent working together on Empire and has said the Smollett he knows is not the one that has been portrayed in the media. Ultimately, however, Jussie Smollett is not expected to appear as Jamal in Season 6 of Empire as it says its final goodbyes to fans.
While not seemingly willing or wanting to wade into the personal life allegations that have been lobbied against Jussie Smollett by the Chicago Police Department, Terrence Howard did tell Extra’s Billy Bush that the actor has been missed during the filming of the current season of Empire. It’s probably a weird position to be in, to have a relationship with an actor who was unceremoniously dropped from the show following a series of allegations and reports.
Jussie Smollett was ultimately cut out of Season 6 of Empire after allegations hit following an attack and the idea he may have orchestrated a hate crime against himself. While the initial charges that the attack may have been a hoax were dropped, there’s still an ongoing separate investigation by the Cook County inspector general and the Chicago police are still trying to recoup $130,000 in costs related to that investigation.
None of this is remotely related to Empire or its final season, and Fox ultimately decided it wasn’t worth keeping Jussie Smollett on the air as all of this personal life stuff was going on. Show creator Lee Daniels confirmed the decision back in June. Then, Smollett's exit was explained ahead of the premiere, with Daniels noting his character Jamal will be “taking a sabbatical” away from the rest of the Lyon family.