The Empire star just published her first tell-all, Around the Way Girl, and in it she reflects on the ups and downs of living in the epicenter of Hollywood's limelight.
Throughout the 240-page read, released Oct. 11, Henson offers candid insight into a myriad of topics—including how much she earned (or didn't earn) while acting alongside Brad Pitt in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which coveted role she lost to Naomi Wattsand how she convinced Idris Elba to star in No Good Deed.
Check out the seven most shocking revelations from Taraji's take on the entertainment industry below:
2. She earned a fraction of Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett's Benjamin Button paychecks: When cast as the adoptive mother of Pitt's character in the 2008 drama, the actress writes that despite being "listed as the third principal actor in the cast," Henson was paid "the equivalent of sofa change compared with what my co-stars received." In it Henson explains she expected to receive a salary "worthy of a solid up-and-coming actress with a decent amount of critical acclaim for her work," but instead was offered a number in the "lowest" of six-figures and had to front her own hotel expenses while filming.
4. Angelina Jolie consoled Taraji after she lost the Academy Award to Penelope Cruz: When the 46-year-old came shy of earning an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actress category during the 2009 telecast, Henson writes that her seatmates, Pitt and Jolie, "reached over to me after my loss, worried that I might be upset... 'I'm fine,' I insisted. 'Can I get some more wine?' 'Let's go get a shot,' Angelina countered. Brad and Angie's support for me during that entire awards season means more to me than they'll ever know."
7. Taraji drew on her own life experience to play Cookie Lyon on Empire: It's no secret Henson commands the Fox series unlike any other actress could, a hit role she writes was only made possible because of her own personal struggles. "I quickly came to embrace Cookie because she is, to some extent, me. I'm that girl with whom everyday woman identifies. I'm that struggle. Hell, I'm the American dream. I didn't go to an Ivy League school, I didn't study at Juilliard, I didn't grow up in a mansion. I came from the goddamn hood and put myself through Howard University... I'm not some fantasy. I'm tangible."