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Taraji P. Henson Praises ‘Resilient’ Jussie Smollett in His Recovery from Attack

The Empire is holding strong. Taraji P. Henson says Jussie Smollett is bouncing back from the apparent hate crime that sent him the hospital on Tuesday, January 29.

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“He’s resilient,” Henson, 48, said of her Empire costar, 36, on Live With Kelly and Ryan on Monday, February 4. “When your very fiber is love and that’s all you know … You know what I mean? That’s just who he is. He’s just very resilient. Very resilient. That’s my baby.”

Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett visit SiriusXM on January 9, 2018 in New York City. Brad Barket/Getty Images

After cohost Kelly Ripa said that everyone at Live loves Smollett, Henson replied, “What’s not to love? And I think what was overwhelming for him was the overwhelming response from everybody. It’s like, everybody was sending him love. And I think that’s important because that was traumatic.”

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The What Men Want actress also opened up about the crime during her Monday appearance on Today. “I just told him to walk in his truth, just stay the Jussie that everybody loves,” she recalled. “And you saw the outpour of love that he had, so he has touched a lot of people, in his career. So, I just told him, ‘Just walk in your truth, baby. No one can take that from you.’”

Smollett was attacked in a “possible hate crime” in Chicago on Tuesday, Chicago Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi confirmed to Us Weekly. The actor was approached by two people “yelling out racial and homophobic slurs toward him” who then “began to batter the victim with their hands about the face and poured an unknown chemical substance on the victim” and “wrapped a rope around the victim’s neck,” Guglielmi added.

The “Hurt People” singer released his first statement since the attack on Friday, February 1, the same day that police said they were “making gains” in the investigation of the attack. “My body is strong but my soul is stronger,” Smollett said. “More importantly I want to say thank you. The outpouring of love and support from my village has meant more than I will ever be able to truly put into words.”

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The following day, Smollett performed an emotional concert at West Hollywood’s Troubadour venue. “I had to be here tonight, y’all. I can’t let [them] win,” he told the audience. “I will always stand for love. I will only stand for love.”

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