Love gone wrong? The notoriously private Lauren Keyana “Keke” Palmer and Darius Jackson, also known as Darius Daulton, went public with their romance when the Scream Queens actress shared a photo of the pair on her Instagram account in August 2021.
Over the years, Palmer has remained tight-lipped about key details surrounding the couple’s relationship, preferring to keep her dating life as low-key as possible.
Scroll down to learn more about the Nope star and Jackson’s love story:
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Who Is Keke Palmer?
Palmer, who has been acting since the age of 9, got her first big break by appearing in 2004’s Barbershop 2: Back in Business.
The actress has also appeared in 2006’s Madea’s Family Reunion and starred in the Nickelodeon series True Jackson, VP from 2008 to 2011. She landed her first leading role in 2006’s Akeelah and the Bee, as an 11-year-old who competes in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
Three years later, Palmer made history as the youngest-ever talk show host on BET’s Just Keke. That same year, she became the first Black actress to play Cinderella on Broadway.
“I hate saying it was a huge deal that I was the first African-American to ever be a part of this musical,” she told Essence in 2016 about being the Disney Princess. “But I loved that my little brother and sister got to watch this show and actually see a diverse world just like the one around them.”
The former child star also appeared on the Showtime series Masters of Sex, FX’s Scream Queens and even took up guest hosting duties for ABC’s Strahan and Sara in 2019 while Sara Haines was out on maternity leave. Ultimately, she was brought on as co-host and producers rebranded the show as Strahan, Sara and Keke. The show, however, was axed in May 2020.
In 2022, Palmer appeared alongside Common in a dramatic thriller Alice, an indie film that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. And one of her biggest movies to date has been the Jordan Peele horror film Nope, which hit screens in July 2022.
The Broadway alum is also an animation veteran, having lent her voice talents to the 2022 Pixar film Lightyear in the role of Izzy Hawthorne.
Credit: Courtesty of Darius Jackson/Instagram
Who Is Darius Jackson?
HBO fans may be familiar with Darius’ younger brother, Sarunas Jackson, who appeared in the Issa Rae series Insecure. Keke Palmer also appeared in the comedy.
According to his LinkedIn page, Darius has been working in both fitness and entertainment for more than six years. He also runs a YouTube channel, which has amassed 19,000 subscribers. The site claims he is also an instructor at Inspire Fitness.
The workout guru is seemingly interested in expanding his career into the film industry, listing his experience as varying “between acting, stand-in, background, sports reporting, sports marketing & writing.”
Credit: Gregory Pace/Shutterstock, Courtesy of Darius Jackson/Instagram
When Did Keke Palmer and Darius Jackson First Meet?
The two have kept their relationship private, but it’s believed the pair met at Issa Rae and Diddy’s Memorial Day Party in May 2021.
In August of that same year, they went public via his Instagram page with a special birthday post from Jackson. “You’ve been a blessing from above,” he wrote at the time. “Never would have expected summer 2021 to turn out the way it did, but here we are. I’m glad we were able to help each other throughout our lowest of times & show one another that what we are bringing to the table is everything that we got.”
Credit: Gregory Pace/Shutterstock
What Keke Palmer Has Said About Dating?
The Proud Family actress has stated she likes to keep work and romance completely separate, opting not to date someone in the same career as her.
“I’ve always had the same philosophy when it comes to dating,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in March 2020. “Not that I wouldn’t give someone a try. But trying to keep my private life outside of my work life, to me, it’s easiest when you don’t date someone with the same career.”
She continues, “I think a lot about, like, does this person really like me for me? And it’s not just romantic relationships. It’s friends too. That wavering, that’s the most traumatic thing about fame.”
However, the Lightyear performer did open up about her then-new romantic connection with Jackson when appearing on the Tamron asked what attracted Palmer to her beau, she cited his “authenticity,” saying that while he “understands” the industry she’s in, that’s not what he’s about and referred to him as “industry adjacent.”
The journalist-turned-talk-show-host also asked the actress what a date night looked like between her and Darius, with Palmer saying she likes to “keep it casual,” noting that she enjoys “a little retro vibe,” with the pair often attending drive-in movies or heading to a “boat cinema” event.
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Did Ice Cube Give Keke Palmer Dating Advice?
During an October 2021 episode of Celebrity Game Face, the Foodtastic host shared the story with Kevin Hart and Monica Denise.
Palmer and Ice Cube had worked together on 2008’s The Longshots. The famous rapper reportedly pulled the then-12-year-old actress aside and said that he understood she was growing up and wanted to make something clear.
“The way these men see you isn’t always how you see yourself,” the NWA member advised.
That wasn’t the last time Keke and the Straight Outta Compton rapper would work together: They were both in the 2004 comedy Barbershop 2: Back in Business.
Credit: Courtesy of Keke Palmer/Instagram
Did Keke Palmer and Darius Jackson Break Up?
Rumors swirled that the duo ended their relationship in March 2022 when they unfollowed each other on Instagram and Palmer removed the photos of Jackson on her IG page.
That same month, Jackson stated on an Instagram story that “If you are serious about growth, be serious about accountability,” adding, “If you are serious about abundance, be serious about gratitude,” he wrote. “If you are serious about intimacy, be serious about vulnerability. If you are serious about discipline, be serious about delayed gratification.”
Palmer has also been romantically linked with Dutch rapper Styn, who is half the music duo Mae Seven. The pair were first spotted in December 2019 and seen again packing on the PDA the following February in Los Angeles.
The Nope star has also been linked to rapper Meek Mill and Brotherly Love costar Quincy Brown.
(The “Yellow Lights” singer also turned down Mike Johnson when the former Bachelorette contestant publicly asked her out in 2019 on Strahan, Sara and Keke. The co-host said she felt “ambushed.”)
Credit: Will Heath/NBC
How Did Keke Palmer Announce Her 1st Pregnancy?
The True Jackson, VP alum revealed during her Saturday Night Live hosting debut in December 2022 that she was expecting baby No. 1 with Jackson.
“There’s some rumors going around, people have been in my comments saying, ‘Keke’s having a baby, Keke’s pregnant,’ and I wanna set the record straight — I am,” she gushed in her monologue. “Honestly this has been the biggest blessing, and I am so excited. Guys, I’m going to be a mom!”
The fitness trainer, for his part, joined his love backstage at the NBC variety series, where he was elated to watch her career achievement. “2023,” Jackson captioned a bump selfie of Palmer.
“Thank you to my other half @dvulton for giving me the things that only true unity can bring,” the actress gushed of her beau via at the time. “Love is all we have isn’t it, you do nothing in this world alone and trust me, I am not alone!”