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Raven-Symone: Empire storyline of Jamal having been married to her character ‘helps show the fluidity of sex’

Raven-Symone: Empire storyline of Jamal having been married to her character ‘helps show the fluidity of sex’

Raven-Symone was in the middle of some high stakes baby daddy drama on last night’s episode of Empire.

Her character returned to claim her daughter who she alleged was fathered by her ex-husband – a just out of the closet Jamal Lyon who is played by Symone’s real-life best friend Jussie Smollett.

The actress, best known for her roles on the sitcoms That’s So Raven and The Cosby Show, is glad to see Empire tackling the story of a fake relationship to hide someone’s true sexuality.

‘I think that’s what (show creator) Lee Daniels does best: shining a light on stories and situations that society sweeps under the rug,’ Symone tells The Hollywood Reporter.

‘People can live a long time in heterosexual relationships on the outside when they’re actually homosexual on the inside. They may come out later in their years because they were afraid or they had no one to look up to to help them, and I think having this show helps. It helps show the fluidity of sex.

‘Nowadays I don’t really want to be labeled either way, but I want people to understand what I’m talking about,’ she adds. ‘Sex is fluid, and Jamal and Olivia did have sex once!’

But the same has not happened in real life. Smollett came out publicly as gay last week while Symone came out as bisexual in 2013.

‘We never had a romantic relationship, but we definitely, living in method-acting worlds, acted how we normally would. (Laughs.) It was very natural and easy. I’m happy that he was as excited to work with me as I was excited to work with him. We had never really worked together.

‘We did a little music together prior to him being on the show, but as my best friend, normally we act like that when we’re out in a club having fun. "Let’s do a Grease rendition; let’s pretend we’re a couple and have fun on the dance floor!" He’s my bro.’

Her character on the show, expected to reappear at some point in season two, was not a role Symone even auditioned for and came about very unexpectedly.

‘This was definitely a last-minute thing that has turned into an amazing opportunity for me and my career. I was actually already in Chicago visiting. Jussie and Lee [Daniels] and (series stars) Taraji [P. Henson] and Terrence [Howard]  and I, we all know each other, and the day before, Jussie popped into the room I was in and was like, "Girl!" and told me about the part. And I was like, "What!?" And it went from there. I did a hair and makeup test, and the next morning I was on the stage.’