As the sixth and final season of Empire nears its premiere date, Terrence Howard says things aren’t the same on set without Jussie Smollett.
Howard shared his feelings in a new interview with Extra, as the entertainment show visited the set of the Fox drama.
“It hurts,” the actor said when asked how it feels not having Smollett around. “It’s like losing a son.”
Howard co-stars on the series as Lucious Lyon. Smollett, who played his son Jamal, was written off the show following his alleged hate crime attack in Chicago on Jan. 29.
Smollett claimed he was walking down a city street in the dark, when two masked men began yelling racial and homophobic slurs. The actor said the suspects beat him, wrapped a rope around his neck and yelled “this is MAGA country.”
Following a lengthy investigation, police said Smollett orchestrated the attack in hopes of getting a salary bump on Empire. While the charges against the actor were ultimately dropped, he was dismissed from the TV series.
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Despite missing the actor, Howard admitted he doesn’t miss the intense media coverage surrounding the case.
“It’s nice not having all of the media circus around regarding all of the things that took place,” he said.
[Watch the video below]
Howard also caused jaws to drop during the interview when he said he plans to quit Hollywood once the series ends.
“I’m done with acting. I’m done pretending,” he stated. The Oscar-nominated actor (Hustle & Flow) didn’t elaborate on how he’ll spend his time, only saying, “I’m just focusing on bringing the truth to the world.”
The final season of Empire premieres Tuesday, Sept. 24 at 9/8c.