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Taraji P. Henson broke down in tears while appearing on Gayle King’s SiriusXM show to promote The Color Purple.

The 53-year-old actress became emotional when King said she’d heard a rumor that Henson was quitting the business.


“I’m just tired of working so hard, being gracious at what I do, getting paid a fraction of the cost,” Henson said. “I’m tired of hearing my sisters say the same thing over and over. You get tired.”

Henson earned an Academy Award nomination for her role as Brad Pitt’s mother in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008). The job offers began rolling in.


Henson was also nominated for six Emmys and six Screen Actors Guild awards. She won her first SAG Award for her role as Katherine Goble Johnson in Hidden Figures.

However, despite the accolades, Henson said “the math ain’t mathing” when it comes to equal pay in Hollywood.


“You get tired. I hear people say ‘You work a lot.’ You have to. The math ain’t mathing. And when you start working a lot, you know, you have a team. Big bills come with what we do. We don’t do this alone … There’s a whole entire team behind us. They have to get paid.”

She continued: “So when you hear someone saying, ‘Oh, such as such made ten million dollars.’ No – that didn’t make it to their [bank] account. Know that, off the top, Uncle Sam is gettin’ fifty percent. OK? So, do the math. Now we have five million. You’re team is getting thirty percent off of what you grossed. Not after what Uncle Sam took.”

Henson added: “I’m only human, and it seems every time I do something and I break another glass ceiling, when it’s time to renegotiate, I’m at the bottom again like I never did what I just did, and I’m just tired. I’m tired. I’m tired. It wears on you, you know? Because what does that mean?”

Watch the interview below.