Empire star Trai Byers is blasting rumors that he wants off of the hit FOX show. Byers refuted the rumors that he thought the show was beneath him, and set the record straight.
Trai plays Terrence Howard’s oldest son Andre, who is the business savvy one of the three Lyon brothers. Although many consider Empire to be a soap opera and heavily dramatized, Byers has received praise for how he portrays his character who found God after he had an episode due to his bipolar diagnosis.
Byers addressed the rumors on Instagram, which is a rarity for the actor who is private about this life.
“I don’t normally spend my time dispelling rumors, but there is something I’d like to address. I have nothing but love and respect for ‘Empire’ and all who are involved on the show.”
He continued by making the following statement.
“I have a fabulous relationship with FOX, and hold myself to the highest standards professionally. How could I think of demanding something larger than Andre, where I get to express a man with Bipolar disorder, who is on a spiritual journey to find his identity? I’m so proud, so happy, and so lucky to be a part of this cast. This show has started my career. See you in Season Three!”
— Vulture (@vulture) March 4, 2016
The original report about Trai’s unhappiness with the show came out via Page Six.
A source who is only named as an “insider” originally said to the outlet, “Trai wants out. He feels that he studied at Yale and he’s a ‘true thespian’. . . The character is beneath him. He has an idea of himself as being this big Shakespearean actor.”
— Wendy Williams (@WendyWilliams) March 4, 2016
“At first, being on ‘Empire’ was major for him. But he feels his character is not as important this season, and he hates not being the star. He thinks he has the acting chops of Taraji and Terrence. He doesn’t get how the show benefits him, and he feels he has way too much talent when he’s not the star by any means.”
Another source said that Byers threw a tantrum due to the lack of material. The source went on to say that Trai threatened to leave because he doesn’t get to do too much on screen. Then, they said that the producers “called his bluff” by telling him to leave.
As it just so happens, while Byers set the record straight that he’s not leaving Empire, today was also the last day of filming on set. Byers’ cast mate Jussie Smollett shared a video of the cast and crew on their last day of filming by captioning it as follows.
“That’s a finale wrap on season 2 of @empirefox directed by Bella @sanaahamri. Love our crew and cast so d*** much. See you back in chi town June to start season 3. And catch all this crazy family when the second part of season2 premieres with 8 all new episodes, Wednesday March 30. Love.”
It’s not too surprising that Byers is staying put on Empire. After all, he is engaged to co-star Grace Gealey, who plays Anika on the show. Although the two characters aren’t involved on the show, if there’s any hint that Byers is unhappy, we bet his silver lining is getting to see his partner on the show and off. After a short relationship, the two became engaged in July 2015.
What do you think of the rumors surrounding Trai Byers?
[Image by FOX]