On-screen in "Empire," Terrence Howard's Lucious Lyon regularly locks horns with wife Cookie Lyon (Taraji P. Henson) and the rest of his family over the Empire music label fortune. Well, it seems the actor faces some similar drama in his off-screen life as well. Howard's divorce from wife Michelle has left Fox in a bit of a pickle when it comes to who will receive the actor's paycheck for the hit show.
According to TMZ, Fox parent company Twentieth Century Fox has asked a judge to help determine who will receive Howard's salary for his work on "Empire." Howard claims his settlement agreement with his wife is invalid and, therefore, he should receive the entire amount. However, Howard's ex-wife asserts that she is entitled to a large portion of that money. Meanwhile, Twentieth Century Fox remains worried that if they pay the wrong party they could end up losing money by having to pay again to make things right. It will be up to the judge to decide who gets the real life "Empire" fortune.
This is not the first instance of life imitating art when it comes to "Empire." The Fox series has also been the subject of a string of lawsuits from people claiming the show unjustly stole their stories to create some of its key characters. According to the Daily Mail, a woman named Sophia Eggleston is suing "Empire" creator Lee Daniels to the tune of $300 million, saying he stole her life story to create Taraji P. Henson's Cookie Lyon after an alleged meeting with a screenwriter. Eggleston claims she gave the writer a copy of her autobiography in 2011 and later got a call informing her that the writer had pitched the book to Daniels. Eggleston says she was never contacted further about the creation of the hit show. Eggleston points out similarities between her life and the character on the show, including her taste in mink fur coats, a gay relative, and the fact she once served jail time for putting out a hit on an enemy.
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In April TMZ reported that Ron Newt, a former gangster and the subject of the documentary "Bigger Than Life," was suing the show after he noticed glaring similarities between his life and Lucious Lyon’s storyline. Newt claimed to have shown Howard the documentary before "Empire" went into production.
Hopefully, Fox and "Empire" can sort out all of the show's behind-the-scenes drama before the on-screen drama returns. "Empire" Season 2 will premiere on Fox Sept. 23.