Lupita Nyong'o Says She 'Was Not Surprised' by Past Janelle Monáe Dating Rumors
'She has magnetism that they were obviously picking up on. She is that enigmatic,' Lupita Nyong'o said of friend Janelle Monáe
Lupita Nyong'o says she "was not surprised" by past rumors that she and longtime friend Janelle Monáe were dating.
While speaking with Rolling Stone recently for a feature story on Monáe, 37, ahead of the release of the musician and actor's new album The Age of Pleasure, Nyong'o, 40, said she does not "mind being associated with her in any capacity" when asked about rumors that the two were at one point romantically intertwined.
“She has magnetism that they were obviously picking up on. She is that enigmatic," Nyong'o told the outlet. "People are curious about enigmatic people. I was not surprised."
Nyong'o said that she and Monae first met at the 2014 Met Gala following Nyong'o's Oscar win for 12 Years a Slave and that the musician-actor went well out of her way to provide a friendly face.
"This world is still extremely new to me and unbelievable,” the Us actress recalled of the encounter. "[Janelle] came up to me and just gave me the realest hug. I think we may have swayed to the music. She was just like, ‘I’m so proud of you, and just thank you for being you.’ ”
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"At some point, [Janelle] asked me for my phone, put her number in and said, ‘Let’s stay in touch,' " Nyong'o added of her and Monáe's first meeting. "She was like, ‘I really mean it. If you need anything, I’m here for you.’ ”
The pair have been close friends ever since, with Nyong'o telling Rolling Stone that she attended at least one party Monáe hosted via the event brand Everyday People as the Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery star began work on her new album in 2021.
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"She’s extremely gifted,” Nyong'o told the outlet of Monáe, whose film credits include the 2016 films Moonlight and Hidden Figures on top of three career studio albums. "It’s built into her spirit. Her openness creates intimacy onscreen. It’s really cool to see her move from one thing to another and do it with such mastery.”
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Despite their close friendship, Nyong'o asserted that just being a friend of Monáe's "doesn’t mean you get to know everything about her."
"I think that’s what makes her interesting as an artist," she added.
Nyong'o, who tends to keep information about her dating life private, took her relationship with television host TV and sports commentator Selema Masekela public when she shared a video of the two on Instagram back in December.
"We just click! 💘 @selema #thisismylove #nuffsaid," Nyong'o wrote in a caption to the post at the time.
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