Empire TV Show Wiki
Cookie Lyon
Cookie Lyon - Empire Season 3 Official Cast Photo.jpg
General Information
Gender: Female
Age: 47
Resides in: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (formerly)
New York City, New York
Hair Color: Black
Eye Color: Brown
Occupation(s): Drug Dealer (formerly)
Co-Founder of Empire Entertainment & Lyon Dynasty
Co-CEO of Empire Entertainment
Head of A&R of Empire Entertainment
Artist Manager at Empire Entertainment & Lyon Dynasty
Record Producer at Empire Entertainment & Lyon Dynasty
Member of Empire's Board of Directors (formerly)
Aliases: Loretha Holloway (birth name)
Loretha Lyon (married name)
Cook, Cookie Monster, Grandma Moses & Skeletor (by Lucious)
Godzilla (by Hakeem)
Big Bitch (by herself)
Family and Friends
Family: Andre Lyon (son)
Jamal Lyon (son)
Hakeem Lyon (son)
Jeff Kingsley (stepson)
Bella Lyon (granddaughter)

Prince Lyon (grandson)
Walker Lyon (grandson)Unborn daughter † (deceased)
Unborn grandson † (deceased)
Carol Hardaway (sister)
Candace Mason (sister)
Renee Holloway (mother)
Princess Lyon (granddaughter; deceased)

Other Relatives: Bunkie Williams(cousin)
Rhonda Lyon(daughter-in-law)
Olivia Lyon (ex-daughter-in-law)
Luther Hardaway (nephew via Carol)
Keisha Hardaway (niece via Carol)
Tanya Hardaway (niece via Carol)
Leah Walker (mother-in-law)
Joe Walker † (father-in-law)
Tariq Cousins † (brother-in-law)
Franklin Mason (nephew via Candace)
Brianna Mason (niece via Candace)
Kai Givens (Son in law)
Maya(Ex-daughter in law)
Tiana Brown (Daughter in law)
Relationships: Lucious Lyon (husband)
Malcolm DeVeaux (ex-boyfriend)
Laz Delgado (ex-boyfriend)
Angelo Dubois(ex-fiancé)
Friends: Mimi Whiteman(briefly)
Pepper O'Leary
Poundcake (Deceased)
Employer: Frank Gathers(formerly)
Lucious Lyon (formerly)
Employees: Porsha Taylor (executive assistant)
Jamal Lyon
Hakeem Lyon
Tiana Brown (formerly)
Elle Dallas (formerly)
Treasure (formerly)
Enemies: Anika Calhoun
Frank Gathers †
Lucious Lyon (sometimes)
Camilla Marks
Mimi Whiteman †
Shine Johnson
Nessa Parker
Diana Dubois
Angelo DuBois
Giuliana Green †
Nurse Claudia
Eddie Barker
Giselle Barker
Jeff Kingsley
Additional Information
Interests: Running Empire
Empire Chronology
First Appearance: Pilot
Last Appearance: Home is on the Way
Portrayer: Taraji P. Henson

Loretha "Cookie" Lyon (née Holloway) is the main female protagonist on the FOX series, Empire. She is the wife of Lucious Lyon. the mother of AndreJamal, and Hakeem Lyon, the stepmother of Jeff Kingsley, and the grandmother of Bella, Prince and Walker Lyon.

She is the co-founder of Empire Entertainment, and returned to take her half of the company after being released from her 17 year prison sentence. She later left Empire, and went on to found her own label, Lyon Dynasty with her son Hakeem. However, she rejoined Empire when it acquired Lyon Dynasty, and is currently the co-CEO as well as the head of A&R for Empire.

Cookie is portrayed by actress, Taraji P. Henson.


Cookie Lyon was born Loretha Holloway, raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She has two sisters, one including Carol Hardaway. Growing up, Cookie gradually began working in the drug dealing business, which is where she met, and soon married Lucious Lyon. Before the success of Empire Entertainment, Cookie was a drug dealer who helped Lucious's career become successful. During this time, Cookie and Lucious had three children: AndreJamal, and newborn Hakeem. Cookie strove to ensure that her children would get the best out of everything. In the drug dealing business, Cookie's life has revolved around music, money, and dodging the law.

One of Cookie's former accomplices is Frank Gathers. Cookie, meanwhile, contributed to the beginnings of Empire Entertainment, distributing $400,000 worth of drug money to create the company. Because Cookie has been involved in drug dealing gone bad, forcing her to serve 17 years in prison, preventing her from being in her sons' lives. After Lucious becomes distant from Cookie while she is incarcerated, the two eventually get a divorce. Years later, Cookie returns in hopes of taking back what's hers: half of the company and giving her sons' the best success. She is a talented music producer and astute business woman, but her involvement with the FBI jeopardized her chances. After being convinced to testify in court, she puts her life in danger when she tells on Frank Gathers. She has a great ear for the sound and music of the hip generation.



Cookie is released from jail after 17 years, when released, she arrives surprisingly at her son, Jamal's apartment for shelter. Meanwhile, after reuniting with Jamal, she plots to attain her half of Empire Enterprises. Her ex-husband, Lucious, denies this request, although Cookie helped build the label with $400,000. She wants half of the company, $5 million per year, and to be the head of A&R. Meanwhile, Cookie attempts to rekindle relationships with her sons, most specifically Hakeem, who doesn't trust or care for her presence, although his disrespect towards her forces Cookie to hit him with a broom. Cookie requests, meanwhile, to take full management rights of Jamal and his career, although Jamal is uncertain of coming out as a gay artist to the world.

Cookie returns from jail to claim what's hers.

When Jamal decides to change his mind, agreeing to allow Cookie to manage him, she is enthusiastic and determined to plot revenge or develop anger in Lucious for Jamal's possible success in the music industry. She wants Jamal to run Empire Entertainment, as implied. 

The Outspoken King

Cookie arrives uninvited to Lucious's house, insisting that Jamal should perform at Laviticus with Hakeem, believing that it would be a major collaboration. Despite Lucious's constant denies, due to his sexuality, Cookie is determined to get Jamal to perform and bolster his career. Meanwhile, Cookie has a probationary assistant, Porsha, who arrives with her to Jamal's apartment. Later on, Cookie arrives at Empire Entertainment, confronting a troublesome artist, Kidd Fo-Fo, for his music. She continues to convince Lucious to launch Hakeem and Jamal's career at Laviticus, but it fails. Cookie wants Jamal, at first, to steal the spotlight from Hakeem, but she convinces Jamal to perform Tell The Truth, forming a press release to showcase his coming out. 

Cookie is forced to testify in front of a grand jury.

However, Cookie is devastated after discovering that her long-time cousin and friend, Bunkie is dead. After creating a failed attempt of a press release for Jamal, with the help of Rhonda, Jamal refuses to attend, and Cookie enters an elevator with Lucious, Anika, Kidd Fo-Fo, Becky, and Vernon, which gradually leads to an altercation. Cookie feels mistreated by Lucious, while she shows disappointment in Jamal after he stood her up. After Jamal performs with Hakeem at Laviticus, Cookie departs and enters a car with a federal agency convincing her to testify for a person involved in her case, but she fears her life may be in jeopardy.

The Devil Quotes Scripture

Cookie asks Lucious about Bunkie's funeral plans, but she is pushed aside. Meanwhile, Cookie is spied on, forcing Lucious to confront Cookie about her involvement with the federal agency, and accuse Cookie of jeopardizing the family's history. Unaware of who told Lucious about her relationship with the feds, she questions her sister, Carol, at Bunkie's funeral. Meanwhile, Cookie attempts to search for a songwriter for Jamal, who only believes in writing his own music. With the help of Harlow Carter, an agent involved in Cookie's case, Cookie discovers that Anika is responsible for the spies, and she tracks down an old friend, Puma, to write a song for Jamal.

Cookie attends her cousin Bunkie's funeral with her sister, Carol.

When she reunites with Puma, who seems to have shelved romantic feelings for her, has changed his life around by working on a farm. Although he has lost interest in his songwriting, Puma decides to give a song to Jamal that Cookie is familiar with. Cookie urges Jamal to perform Up All Nighta song Lucious refused to perform in the past, at Lucious's dinner party. Later on, the dinner party becomes tense when Cookie indirectly confronts Anika for spying on her, but she shows disgust towards Lucious's sardonic behavior towards Jamal's performance of Up All Night, telling him that he will go to hell. She threatens Anika, telling her to watch her back, but she discovers that Lucious may have a secret that she's unaware of.

False Imposition

Cookie demands an office for Empire Entertainment and rights for her assistant, Porscha. However, when she moves into a smaller office, she is asked by Tiana to give advice on a demo. Eventually, Cookie, much to Anika's disapproval, has full management of  Tiana's music career. After Tiana and Hakeem are able to perform at the Teen Choice Awards nominations at Laviticus, Cookie texts Tiana, requesting that she sings her demo with Hakeem, who doesn't seem too fond of building a relationship with his mother. Meanwhile, Cookie helps Lucious bring an imprisoned rapper, Titan, join Empire Entertainment by posing as a Muslim and interacting with his mother, revealing that she is part of the Nation.

Cookie decides to take matters into her own hands as the manager of Tiana.

Meanwhile, Cookie opens up about her abandoned relationship with Lucious, revealing that Lucious had stopped visiting her in jail and refused to interact with her. Cookie, meanwhile, shares a dinner with Tiana, but the two both realize that Hakeem is nowhere to be found to prepare for their performance. Later on, Cookie attempts to reconcile with Hakeem, but fails to seek forgiveness. Lucious, at the end, thanks Cookie for helping Titan join Empire, and increasing Tiana and Hakeem's success. 

Dangerous Bonds

In this episode, Cookie sends Jamal to a studio to record a song, Keep Your Money, and steps outside to talk to the FBI, being convinced by agent Harlow Carter to testify in front of a grand jury, but refuses to because it may put her life in danger. However, Carter convinces Cookie to testify against Frank Gathers, a man involved in a violent shooting that Cookie witnessed. When Cookie is in court, she reveals the situation at hand, a man that is shot was part of a federal agency. Cookie confronts Carter for lying to her, and it puts her even in deeper danger than before. 

Cookie's life may be in danger after testifying in front of a grand jury.

Cookie arrives to her apartment only to discover a rose on her doorstep - the rose serves a symbol shown in Frank Gathers's drug dealing logo. Cookie feels immediately in danger, assuming that Gathers sent the rose and someone will kill her. Andre arrives to ask Cookie to allow Tiana to collaborate with Hakeem on his music video, but Cookie denies it despite Andre's urge to contribute to money since promotion money is limited due to the IPO. Cookie convinces Andre to allow her to join a board of directors or she will refuse to include Tiana to the music video.

Jamal becomes worried of Cookie's long absence, but on the phone, Cookie tells Jamal to fix his song, remove the intro. Cookie goes into a taxi to Philadelphia, where her sister Carol lives. She goes to open up about Frank Gathers and reveals that an accomplice may have been involved in sending Cookie the rose, leading to a decision to reunite with a friend of hers to prevent Frank Gathers from interfering with her. However, Cookie juggles Empire Entertainment business regarding Jamal's song and Tiana's scandal. 

Cookie discovers that Lucious sent her a rose than who she expected.

Meanwhile, Cookie confides in Jermel to stop the roses from being sent to her house. Cookie returns back to Ghetto Ass Studios in celebration of Jamal completing his song. At the end, Cookie discovers that Lucious sent her the rose, as a symbol of their anniversary, and she is too late to get Jermel to stop him from handling Teddy McNally. 

Out, Damned Spot

Assuming that Lucious still has feelings for her, after sending the rose, Cookie dresses to impress for a night out that she did not expect. Cookie is enraged when Lucious reveals that he is engaged to Anika, feeling as if she was being lead on. Meanwhile, Cookie is proud of Jamal's incoming musical success, but she warns his boyfriend, Michael, who fears that fame will affect their relationship, and states that Jamal will have less time for Michael. Cookie, who requests that Elle Dallas should remain in Empire Entertainment, agrees to manage her. However, the hope backfires when Elle refuses to be managed by her.

Cookie shows off for Lucious at a wrong time.

Cookie attempts to help Elle through her drug and alcohol addiction, but Elle is resistant. Cookie reflects on her troubled past and how Elle influenced her. Meanwhile, Cookie achieves in promoting Jamal's single, Keep Your Money, to bolster his popularity, by convincing a popular celebrity to tweet about his song. Later on, Cookie urges Elle to perform her music in a raw manner, and to stop hiding her emotions in materialistic features, and she is shown supporting Jamal during his interview with Sway Calloway. 

Meanwhile, Cookie meets Malcolm DeVeaux, a man working for Lucious. Cookie notices the obvious tension and competition between Jamal and Hakeem, but is shown completely bewildered by a mysterious presence that claims that Jamal is the father to her child.

Our Dancing Days

Cookie continues to confront Lucious for forcing Jamal to marry Olivia, but she witnesses Lucious suffer from the side effects of the medicine used to cure his ALS. Cookie becomes concerned of his heath after visiting him in the hospital; meanwhile, Cookie tries to search for Elle in order to prepare for a performance to launch Empire's success, and when she arrives, she is amazed by her performance. However, things go unfortunately awry when Elle looks like she is repeating her drug habits because Anika drugged her, forcing Cookie to remove her slot from the show, and apologize to Lucious for trusting her.

Cookie and Lucious have a steamy night together.

After Lucious suffers from the symptoms of ALS, it is deemed impossible form him to go on and deliver a speech, so he insists Cookie should deliver the speech towards Empire. Cookie acknowledges Lucious's success and dreams, revealing their past before Empire Entertainment, and Empire's artists. Cookie urges Lucious to tell him of his problems, but when discovering that he has ALS, she is silent and distraught. At the end, Cookie opens up, believing that Lucious will breakthrough his illness. Cookie and Lucious share a sexual encounter together afterwards.

The Lyon's Roar After Cookie and Lucious sleep together, Cookie believes their relationship will go further if Lucious breaks up with Anika, and she convinces Lucious to create a Legacy album and tour for the family. Cookie, being the producer of the legacy album, Records Hakeem rapping on a new version of Lucious's song "Your So Beautiful". Cookie critiques Hakeem and he throws a fit towards her. Lucious yells at the both of them, forcing them to try and get along. Hakeem tells Cookie why he is always mad at her because he thinks that she forgot about him and that she loves Jamal more than she loves him when she was serving time in jail ; Cookie tells him that that's not true and she loves him just as much as Jamal. 

At the white party Cookie meets Hakeem's love interest, Camilla. Cookie tells Hakeem that he shouldn't be dating women her age. Hakeem disregards what she says ; and Cookie tells Camilla to stay away from Hakeem. then she told Jamal to sing the song without Lucious and Hakeem.  

Unto the Breach Cookie went to Lucious's house along with Porsha while Lucious and Anika are planning their wedding, with the wedding planner. but Cookie interrupted them and told the wedding planner to leave. then she exposed to Lucious about Anika's plans and betrayal and said Anika is working with Billy Beretti, the CEO of Creedmoor. then she and Porsha threw all her clothes out Lucious's house and Cookie told Porsha to grab Anika's phone. then she went outside while Lucious and Anika were talking and told the driver not to let her take a car. then she went into the house and looked out the window and watched Anika away from Lucious. then she and Lucious went back to Empire and prepared for war against Creedmoor.

Sins of the Father

Die But Once

Who I Am


Cookie is an extremely beautiful and outspoken individual who at times can be immature. However, she is also depicted to be very wise who is extremely loyal and supporting to those she loves. She always demands respect including from her children. She will do whatever it take to claimed what is right fully hers and be on top no matter what. She is also a strong, independent, woman who does not tolerate nonsense and likes to take matters into her own hands. She is also very smart and mature and creative and does not fear anybody. She is never afraid to speak her mind toward people. Cookie can also be head strong, extremely sassy and tough. she can be very motherly as well. and she also can be very funny sometimes. She is overall a kind-hearted person who cares about her family and allies the most, while being stubborn, as she doesn't like it when things don't go her way. Nevertheless, she is a vital part of Lucious and the rest of the Empire and is always by their side.  


Lucious Lyon (husband)

Lucious and Cookie were a married couple. Before they were rich, they illegally hustled drugs and committed various other crimes. She supported his music career, and often helped in the production of his songs. Together, they had three children: Andre, Jamal, and Hakeem. She was the one who provided the $400,000 in drug money that had started Empire. She was eventually nabbed on federal drug charges and was sentenced to 30 years, although she offered less than 5 years if she turned on Lucious, a deal she refused, claiming that she wasn't about to let Lucious spend the best years of his life rotting in jail. While in prison, she often thought of Lucious and sang his songs while imprisoned in her cell. During that time, Lucious stopped visiting her in jail and divorced her. In The Empire Unpossessed, Cookie and Lucious remarried after losing Empire to Eddie.

Andre Lyon (son)

Andre and Cookie have a good relationship. She is supportive and kind to him, especially after learning that he suffers from mental illness. Although she is initially hurt and devastated after learning that Andre was behind the plot to kill Lucious, she forgives him and encourages Lucious to forgive him as well.

Jamal Lyon (son)

Jamal is considered to be Cookie's favorite. She usually helps Jamal with his music and is very supportive of him. Their relationship was heavily strained when she, Andre, Hakeem, and Anika planned a hostile takeover to take over Empire. Eventually Jamal and Cookie made up, saying they missed each other.

Hakeem Lyon (son)

At first, Hakeem hated Cookie and was very disrespectful towards her while Cookie kept trying to make up for lost time with him. In The Lyon's Roar Hakeem explained why he was always mad at her, saying that she loved Jamal more than him. Cookie denied that statement and said she didn't love Jamal more than him and that she just knows him better. After hearing that he stopped being mean to her and the two start to bond. In season 2 Cookie and Hakeem left Empire to go start their own label.

Bunkie Williams (cousin)

Bunkie is Cookie's favorite cousin. She was devastated when she heard that he was dead. When she found out Lucious was the one who killed Bunkie she tried to suffocate him with a pillow.

Anika Calhoun (enemy)

Anika and Cookie hated each other from the moment they first met, with Cookie even giving her the nick name Boo Boo Kitty. Anika didn't trust Cookie to be in Empire so she kept hiring agents and even Porsha to spy on her but eventually Cookie found out and put a stop to it. Their conflict got worse when Anika caught Lucious in bed with Cookie in Our Dancing Days. In the season one finale Cookie and Anika engaged in a brief fight with Cookie strangling Anika on top of Hakeem's pool table. Despite their mutual hatred for each other they put their differences aside and worked with Andre and Hakeem in a hostile takeover against Lucious. The plan didn't work and the four were kicked out of Empire and decided to start their own music company. Cookie, having a major dislike for Anika, tells Hakeem not to let her join them. Anika wanted to be in Lyon Dynasty so she told Cookie that Lucious was having a party in Laviticus, hoping the information she gave to Cookie would be enough to convince her to let her join Lyon Dynasty. When the FBI raided Empire Cookie told Anika that if she signed Royale-T onto Lyon Dynasty that she would join them. Later on when Cookie told Anika that Lucious said he never tried to take her masters she told Anika that she could not be trusted and told her to not come back to Lyon Dynasty.

Malcolm DeVeaux (ex-boyfriend)

Malcolm and Cookie started dating in Sins of the Father, although there relationship was short lived because Malcolm got a new job in Washington D.C. and when he asked Cookie to come with him she sadly declined, saying she can't leave all that she worked for.

Laz Delgado (ex-boyfriend)

Laz was the promoter for Lyon Dynasty. He started dating Cookie in A High Hope for a Low Heaven after they had sex in Laz's house. But their relationship isn't as perfect as it seems because Laz is a member of the 125th Street Bulls. In Sinned Against Cookie found out and ended her relationship with him while letting Lucious deal with him.

Porsha Taylor (assistant)

Porsha is Cookie's assistant who gets treated poorly by Cookie, who keeps insulting her and tells her to shut up all the time. Despite this, Porsha is very loyal to Cookie, shown when Anika payed her to spy on Cookie but instead spied on Anika.

Cookie once fired Porsha and the latter was sad at this. However, Cookie took pity on her and allowed her to take back her job, after seeing her struggle with a dog. Porsha was grateful and thanked her for it as Cookie told her not to make her regret it.

When Porsha jumped a subway turnstile and refused to show up to court she used Cookie's name and she fired Porsha. Porsha was rehired in the next episode in a probationary manner.

Tiana Brown (client)

Cookie began managing Tiana in False Imposition after Tiana asked her to listen to her demo for Keep It Movin'. Cookie was supportive of Tiana when she found out about her bisexuality, saying they could "sell that." In Unto the Breach Cookie told her that she was family to her and Hakeem. In season 2 she left Empire and signed with Cookie's new label, Lyon Dynasty.