Oprah Winfrey Shuts Down Rumors of Taraji P. Henson Feud

Taraji P Henson and Oprah Winfrey (Credit: Instagram/@tarajiphenson)

After Taraji P. Henson expressed concerns about working conditions on The Color Purple, rumors began to circulate about a potential feud between the actress and producer, Oprah Winfrey. Now, Oprah is setting the record straight.

Speaking on the red carpet at the 2024 Golden Globes, the media mogul told Entertainment Tonight there is “no validity” to rumors of feud with Henson.

“People are saying that I was not supporting Taraji,” Winfrey said. “Taraji will tell you herself that I’ve been the greatest champion of this film. Championing not only the behind the scenes projection, but also everything that everybody needed.”

Winfrey clarified that, as a producer, she doesn’t control the budget, which was handled by Warner Bros.

“We as producers, everybody gets their salary, everybody is negotiated by your team,” she explained. “And so, whenever I heard there was an issue or there was a problem, there was a problem with cars or the problem with their food, I would step in and do whatever I could to make it right. And I believe that she would even vouch for that and say that is true.”

Related: Taraji P. Henson Says ‘The Color Purple’ Production Gave Cast Rental Cars Instead of Drivers: ‘This Is Insurance Liability’

Winfrey also addressed online discussions about her body language during at a recent photo call in New York City, dismissing claims of tension with Henson.

“There’s no validity to there being a thing between Taraji and I,” she said.

“On that particular day, we were so cold, so I don’t know what kind of body language people were talking about,” Winfrey added. “I was literally just trying to stay warm, and that was the fourth thing we had done.”

Henson, who plays Shug Avery in the reimagining of The Color Purple, has been outspoken about pay disparity for Black women in Hollywood. Most recently, in an interview with the New York Times, the actress raised concerns about issues she faced during the production of The Color Purple — including a lack of food during rehearsals and not being provided with drivers to get to and from set.

“They gave us rental cars, and I was like, ‘I can’t drive myself to set in Atlanta.’ This is insurance liability, it’s dangerous. Now they robbing people,” Henson told the Times. “What do I look like, taking myself to work by myself in a rental car? So I was like, ‘Can I get a driver or security to take me?’ I’m not asking for the moon.”

While it’s unclear who Henson expressed her concerns to, the actress did share their response: “They’re like, ‘Well, if we do it for you, we got to do it for everybody.’ Well, do it for everybody!” she said. “It’s stuff like that, stuff I shouldn’t have to fight for. I was on the set of Empire fighting for trailers that wasn’t infested with bugs.”

Despite the rumors circulating online, Henson previously clarified on Instagram that Winfrey has been a steady source of support throughout the journey of The Color Purple.

“Ms. OPRAH has been nothing less than a steady and solid beacon of light to ALL OF THE CAST of The Color Purple!!! She has provided ENCOURAGEMENT, GUIDANCE and UNWAVERING SUPPORT to us all,” she captioned a photo of her alongside the former talk show host.

“She told me personally to reach out to her for ANYTHING I needed, and I did! It took ONE CALL… ONE CONVERSATION… and ONE DECISION MAKING BLACK WOMAN to make me feel heard,” Henson added. “Thank You Ms. @OPRAH For ALL That You Do.”

The Color Purple, which debuted in theaters on Christmas Day, has already garnered critical acclaim, with two Golden Globe nominations for stars Fantasia Barrino and Danielle Brooks.

Watch the interview with Oprah Winfrey below.