Kenyan-Mexican Actress, Lupita Nyong’o Opens Up About Decision to Publicly Announce Breakup

In a recent interview with Net-a-Porter, Kenyan-Mexican actress Lupita Nyong’o discussed her split from ex-boyfriend Selema Masekela and why she decided to publicly disclose it.

In October, the 40-year-old announced on Instagram that she had broken her relationship with Masekela after being sighted with fellow actor Joshua Jackson and companions on a night out.

“In my mind, when I shared my relationship status with the world, it was because I felt sure about it,” the Black Panther star said in the interview. “I was living in a lot of pain and heartbreak. I looked at the environment of my social media and thought, I don’t want to be a part of this illusion that everything is always coming up roses. Surely there is a lesson for me to learn in this, and I just want to be real about it.”

Nyong’o expressed gratitude for the warm feedback and support she received after sharing the news. “I knew how it could be interpreted; I knew it would have a life of its own,” she said. “But then I started seeing the comments, and everyone was so lovely and encouraging. Other people’s stories of grief and heartbreak moved me the most.

Despite a failed prior relationship, the star of 12 Years a Slave is open to finding love again, but is not in a rush. “Our mission in life is to love. And then you have to get back in it,” Nyong’o remarked, referring to a comment made by fellow actress Niecy Nash.

“I think what I’ve learned is, I’ve got to just face this thing that I’m going through. I can’t run away from it. And so I am not looking for its opposite right now,” she said.

Masekela, whose father is renowned South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela, and Nyong’o announced their romance in December 2022. In an Instagram post announcing their split the following year, Nyong’o explained that their relationship was ended by “deception.”

“At this moment, it is necessary for me to share a personal truth and publicly dissociate myself from someone I can no longer trust…,” the 40-year-old shared at the time.

“I find myself in a season of heartbreak because of a love suddenly and devastatingly extinguished by deception,” she added. “I am tempted to run into the shadows and hide, only to return to the light when I have regained my strength enough for me to say, ‘Whatever, my life is better this way.’”

Despite her state, Nyong’o said she was confident about pulling through. “But I am reminded that the magnitude of the pain I am feeling is equal to the measure of my capacity for love. And so, I am choosing to face the pain, cultivating the courage to meet my life exactly as it is, and trusting that this too shall pass,” she wrote.

Nyongo’o also explained why she decided to share her story, writing, “The promise, they say, is that a tender heart is what gives birth to fearlessness. I hope it’s true… I share this to keep it 100, and hoping that the knowledge of my experience might be useful to someone else out there experiencing the grip of heartbreak who is poised to try and escape from the pain and miss out on the wisdom that comes from it.”

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