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Taraji P. Henson Addresses Empire Exit Rumors in True Cookie Fashion

Julie Sprankles is a freelance writer living in the storied city of Charleston, SC. When she isn't slinging sass for SheKnows, she enjoys watching campy SyFy creature features (Pirahnaconda, anyone?), trolling the internet for dance work...

Empire wouldn't be Empire without Cookie Lyon

Y'all know Cookie Lyon doesn't mess around when it comes to money — and Cookie's real-life counterpart, Taraji P. Henson, feels the same way. The Empire star finally addressed those persistent rumors she is exiting the show and TBH, her response sounds like it could have come straight from the Lyon matriarch's mouth.

"I don't know what this rumor is that I'm done after Episode 4," she told Extra's Tanika Ray at the Black AIDS Institute's Heroes in the Struggle Awards, where she was being honored. "I have bills to pay... I love Chanel too much to walk away from a hit show."

More: Taraji P. Henson's Most Fierce Moments

Do you hear that, fans? Cookie isn't going anywhere. To drive home her point, Henson stared down Extra's camera and asked, "Who is spreading that? Who walks away from that money?"

Good point, T.

After all, according to Radar Online, Henson reportedly signed a six-figure contract early in the hit music drama's history. As the series' breakout star, and an award-winning one at that, Henson has undoubtedly renegotiated for an even larger salary by now.

And judging by Henson's comments, she puts it to good use — on heels. Pointing out the Gucci shoes she was wearing, Henson joked, "I can't leave the show because I bought every color, every style."

More: Will Cookie & Lucious Reuniting Help Empire or Hurt It?

Still, the reign of Cookie can't last forever. During an interview with Variety in March, Henson admitted, "I could not do this forever. No. Cookie wears me out! She drains me."

Elaborating, she said, "She is emotionally all over the place. Those writers, they just keep pushing my emotions with every episode. By the 18th episode [of each season], I'm dead. I got to get far away. I don't wear animal print. I cut my hair into a bob. I don't wear a weave because I've got to get as far away from Cookie as possible."

So when does Henson think her time on Empire will end? "Once it's syndicated," she quipped to Variety, "and then I'm like, 'Thank you. Goodnight!'"

More: 23 Times Cookie Threw Shade & Made Us Feel Unworthy

When that day comes, Empire fans will likely spend a day in mourning burning all their animal-print clothing and eulogizing Mama Lyon via memes. But for now, it's Cookie's world, and we're all just living in it.

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