Lupita Nyong’o says relationship with Selema Masekela ‘extinguished by deception’

Oscar-winner said she finds herself in a ‘season of heartbreak’ amid alleged ‘deception’

Maanya Sachdeva
Friday 20 October 2023 16:23 BST
Lupita Nyong'o raps on The Tonight Show

Lupita Nyong’o has “publicly distanced” herself from “someone I can no longer trust” in a statement purportedly about her break-up from American sports commentator Selema Masekela.

The Black Panther star, 41, shared the message with the hashtag #breakup on her social media accounts on Thursday (19 October), writing that she finds herself in “a season of heartbreak” amid alleged “deception”.

Nyong’o began her statement by acknowledging “there are much more important things going on in the world right now” and expressing solidarity with “those who are deeply suffering”, appearing to refer to the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas.

Without naming Masekela, 52, she continued: “At this moment, it is necessary for me to share a personal truth and publicly dissociate myself from someone I can no longer trust…

“I find myself in a season of heartbreak because of a love suddenly and devastatingly extinguished by deception,” the Oscar-winner added.

Nyong’o told fans that while she’s “tempted to run into the shadows and hide” until she has regained strength and perspective, she is comforted by the thought that “the magnitude of the pain I am feeling is equal to the measure of my capacity for love”.

“The promise, they say, is that a tender heart is what gives birth to fearlessness. I hope it’s true,” Nyong’o said, expressing the hope that her own experience of heartache “might be useful to someone else out there... who is poised to try and escape from the pain and miss out on the wisdom that comes from it”.

Nyong’o first announced she was dating Masekela, the son of pioneering South African jazz musician Hugh Masekela, on Instagram last December.

At the time, she posted their take on a popular social media trend, with the duo snapping their fingers to the beat of “The King’s Affirmation” by Iniko and Reuel Williams, while their outfits changed, in a short video clip.

“We just click,” Nyong’o captioned the now-deleted post.

The Independent has contacted Nyong’o and Masekela’s representatives for comment.

Since announcing her break-up, the comments section of Nyong’o’s post been flooded with messages of support from the actor’s fans and friends alike.

When They See Us director Ava DuVernay wrote: “We lift you up with love and sisterhood. Your miracles are all around you. Let us count them in confidence and in faith.”

“I am sending you so much love and so much light and thank you for sharing,” Pose actor Dominique Jackson’s comment read. “I know it is very difficult to have to live your life so publicly and have to share your pain with the world and explain it even when you should not have to but my love, thank you for giving us courage.

Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia in ‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’

“Thank you for giving us strength. Thank you for giving us hope. Thank you especially for being real! ... sending you healing, love and knowledge that everything is a lesson and a chance for growth,” she continued.

American comedian Marlon Wayans reminded Nyong’o that “this too shall pass” in a heartfelt message on Instagram.

He wrote: “Trust God. He wants better for you. All lessons are blessings especially the painful ones.

“Be kind to you as you heal. I always say whenever i have a break up ‘lucky me, i get to love ME again. I missed you me.’ Go love on you woman,” Wayans added.

Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul left a series of praying hand emojis, while High School Musical star Vanessa Hudgens wrote: “And you got this”.

Masekela has not publicly commented on his relationship status with Nyong’o.

Beginning his career as an NBA sideline reporter for ESPN, Masekela’s credits also include covering the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa for the broadcaster.

He also co-presented an entertainment news show The Daily 10 on E! until it was cancelled in September 2010.

In addition to hosting the X Games and Winter X Games on ESPN for 13 years, Masekela also appeared as the host of Viceland’s 2016 docuseries, VICE World of Sports.

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