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Taraji P. Henson Admits She Can’t Do ‘Empire’ Forever: ‘Cookie Wears Me Out!’

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Taraji P Hanson

“Empire” returns this week and the hit series has already been renewed for a fourth season, but that doesn’t mean the show can go on forever — well, at least according to star Taraji P. Henson.

“I could not do this forever. No. Cookie wears me out!” Henson exclaimed during a recent interview with Variety. “She drains me,” the actress adds with a laugh. “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.”

When asked if she has a number of seasons in mind she’d like “Empire” to stay on the air, Henson quips, “Once it’s syndicated — and then I’m like, ‘Thank you. Goodnight!’”

“I learned this from the women of ‘Sex and the City’ — you’ve got to know when to go out. You don’t want to overstay your welcome. You want to go out on a high. You want to be remembered as the number one show on network,” Henson adds. “I’m going to lose my passion, I know me. And Cookie is enough. I can’t do that for so long.”

While playing Cookie is an emotionally-taxing role, Henson wasn’t always confident that her erratic character would resonate with audiences. When she first read the script for “Empire,” she says she was “scared to death.”

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