Taraji P. Henson Says She's Doing 'Much Better' After Calling Off Engagement (Exclusive)

The actress spoke to ET ahead of her American Music Awards hosting duties this weekend.

Taraji P. Henson has had quite a year but is making the most of it.

Last month, Henson announced she called off her wedding and split with her fiancé of two years, Kelvin Hayden. This major life decision came right after she went on a 50th birthday girls trip to Mexico.

"I am much better, let's put it that way," she told ET's Kevin Frazier ahead of her hosting duties at Sunday's American Music Awards. Henson and the former NFL pro got engaged in May 2018 after two years of dating. Henson previously said they tried to do couples therapy to save their relationship before ultimately deciding to call it quits.

As she celebrated a major birthday milestone, Henson changed her outlook on life and knew things had to change.

"I felt myself slipping and so I was like, 'You know what I am not going to do is let 50 happen to me," she expressed. "I am going to get control of this mentally and not be like, 'You are getting old, don't nobody care, you ain't working,' Well, duh, no one is working, it is COVID. So I felt that coming."

After calling her trainer and staying positive, she says she doesn't "have those low lows anymore," before sending a message to others who might be feeling down. "So anybody out there, that might be going through this darkness, literally, working out, it really works."

Henson, meanwhile, couldn't be more excited to get all dolled up and emcee the AMAs.

"I got called to present at the Billboards and then my agent goes, 'Oh by the way, they want to know if you want to host the AMAs and I am like, 'What? Hell yeah, I want to get off this sofa and be glamorous and pretty,'" she said. "I studied musical theater, so any time I get to be on a live theater stage, that's how I look at it. I know it is an award show for music but it is still a chance for me to show my different talents."

"I wanted to do this whole big, huge opening dance number with all of these dances and dancers," she shared. "But we have been limited to the amount of dancers we can have due to COVID. But we are artists, so we are going to be creative. It is still going to be a really big show and amazing and creative and that is the great thing about artists, you can't hold us down. You can't pin us down, you are in the guidelines, but they are still creative."

Henson has some tricks up her sleeve and is also very excited to see a number of acts take the stage.

"I missed Jennifer Lopez's amazing show in Vegas because I was being Cookie, I couldn't do nothing," she shared. "Jennifer Lopez and Maluma, I can't wait to see that! Oh yes, that is what I am saying, it is going to be a big show!"

"I'm excited for the Latin community," she continued, noting she's also excited for Bad Bunny and Jhay Cortez. "The AMAs have opened up the categories, as they should because the Latin community is such a huge part of American culture and certainly the music and representation is everything."

J.Lo and Maluma will be singing their latest duets, "Pa Ti" and "Lonely," live for the first time, with Bad Bunny and Cortez singing their global hit, "Dákiti."

Henson is also the host and co-producer of Wondery and Universal Music Group’s Jacked: Rise of the New Jack Sound, a 6-part podcast series about the of the rise and eventual fall of New Jack Swing sound. Tune-in on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, the Wondery App and other podcast platforms.

Be sure to check ET on Sunday for all your AMA needs. The 2020 AMAs air live on Sunday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.



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