Just friends? Lupita Nyong’o understands why fans continue to ship her and BFF Janelle Monáe amid their years-long relationship.
“She has magnetism that they were obviously picking up on,” Nyong’o, 40, told Rolling Stone in its new cover story about Monáe, 37, published on Monday, May 22. “She is that enigmatic. People are curious about enigmatic people.”
The Black Panther actress, who has been pals with the Grammy nominee since meeting at the 2014 Met Gala, noted that she’s “not surprised” by speculation over the women’s dynamic.
“I don’t mind being associated with her in any capacity,” Nyong’o said of the Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery actress, who publicly came out in 2018 as pansexual.
The Oscar winner, who is currently dating Selema Masekela, continued to sing Monáe’s praises, calling her an “extremely gifted” actress.
“It’s built into her spirit,” Nyong’o told the magazine. “Her openness creates intimacy onscreen. It’s really cool to see her move from one thing to another and do it with such mastery.”
Despite their close connection, the Sulwe author confessed: “Just because you’re a close friend of hers doesn’t mean you get to know everything about her. I think that’s what makes her interesting as an artist.”
Monáe agreed with Nyong’o’s assessment, telling the outlet, “I have a policy and agreement with myself — that is a part of my life that I want to keep private.”
The Antebellum actress, who identifies as nonbinary and uses she/her and they/them pronouns, explained that she has a line that she’s not willing to cross as a public figure.
“I can talk about my identity, I can talk about my sexuality. I can talk about all things Janelle Monáe without having to go into detail,” she said. “You know what I mean? It’s not necessary.”
Monáe concluded: “I’m not obligated to share my story. Nobody’s obligated.”
Although Nyong’o is happy to be in Monáe’s orbit, she confirmed in December 2022 via Instagram that she is dating Masekela, 51.
“We just click! 💘 @selema #thisismylove #nuffsaid,” the Us star captioned a video of the couple perfectly in sync in a variety of different outfits.
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The TV host and sports commentator shared the same clip via his Instagram page, captioning it, “Hearts are synched. My whole and actual love @lupitanyongo. ❤️❤️❤️.”