Keke Palmer's relationship status with Darius Jackson remains a bit of a mystery.
On Saturday, Palmer celebrated her 30th birthday with Jackson by her side. In an Instagram Live, the Hustlers actress thanked Jackson for taking her out to celebrate "as always."
In the video, Jackson calls Palmer "my partner in crime."
Keke Palmer spends her 30th birthday with ex boyfriend Darius Jackson. pic.twitter.com/CJ79aVNJ4r
— Pop Crave (@PopCrave) August 26, 2023
Palmer continued the birthday celebration Sunday by sharing a series of photos on Instagram, including one with a tattoo of the date "January 21st, 1994" on her backside, which corresponds to Jackson's birthday.
So what about those breakup rumors?
After multiple reports claimed they had broken up — though neither of them confirmed the split — the 30-year-old Nope actress's Essence cover story referred to the fitness instructor as her "partner" and noted that it was "still business as usual" between them. In fact, they FaceTimed throughout her cover shoot to discuss their baby boy, Leodis, who was born six months ago.
According to the outlet, at the time of the interview — for the September/October issue, hitting newsstands on Aug. 29 — Palmer "had not confirmed or denied the break-up rumors." She still hasn't officially, nor has he. Her rep tells Yahoo, "We don’t comment on our clients' personal lives."
Palmer — a child star (True Jackson, VP and Madea's Family Reunion) who has continued to work on-screen (Scream Queens, Hustlers and Nope), make music (she's "Bossy") and carve a niche out for herself as an "internet sweetheart" — has seen this relationship take center stage in recent months. It stemmed from Jackson publicly criticizing what she wore to an Usher concert, resulting in backlash against him and public debate. Leading up to the reported breakup, Usher released a new video called "Boyfriend" — with Palmer as its star.
Here's a brief history of Palmer and Jackson's relationship saga...
Memorial Day 2021: Palmer meets Jackson, a former college football player and the brother of Insecure actor Sarunas Jackson, and they start dating.
November 2021: Palmer, who previously made a rule not to discuss her private life, appears on the Tamron Hall Show and breaks her rule. "I'm not gonna hide something that makes me happy," she says.
December 2022: Palmer announces her pregnancy during her Saturday Night Live hosting debut.
February 2023: They welcome their son, Leodis, and share the first photos.
April 2023: While being honored at Los Angeles's LGBT Center, she says she's a "little bit of everything" while discussing sexuality and gender.
The happy new parents bring baby Leo to the screening of Big Boss at the Atlanta Film Festival. It tells Palmer's story of the challenges of working in the male-dominated music industry. She drops a studio album of the same name the next month.
June 2023: Palmer praises Jackson in a Father's Day post, calling him "the best dad ever." She also wrote, "It’s so wonderful to see the kind of loving father you are, but I'm not surprised. You wanted to be a dad maybe more than I wanted to be a mother and that's saying a lot, because I've ALWAYS wanted to be a mother. I love this for us, but I really love it for Leo!"
July 2023: Dressed in a sheer black dress over a thong bodysuit, Palmer goes to see Usher in concert in Las Vegas on July 5. The R&B singer serenades Palmer with his "There Goes My Baby." She shares photos of her look that night and Jackson responds on X, formerly known as Twitter, "It's the outfit tho ... you a mom." Amid backlash, he defends himself, writing, "We live in a generation where a man of the family doesn't want the wife & mother to his kids to showcase booty cheeks to please others & he gets told how much of a hater he is." He also writes, "This is my family & my representation. I have standards & morals to what I believe. I rest my case." He temporarily deletes X over the backlash.
Palmer and Jackson appear to unfollow each other on social media. He seemingly deletes all his photos with Palmer.
August 2023: On Aug. 15, it's announced Palmer will star in the video for Usher's song "Boyfriend," which they filmed in Las Vegas. Usher sings, "Somebody said that your boyfriend's looking for me/Oh that's cool."
One day later, multiple outlets, including People, report that the couple split. "He's moved on," a source says of Jackson. He is said to be focused on an acting career and wants to put the drama behind him. He and Palmer were making it work as co-parents with the source saying, "You don't have to be in the same household to be good parents."
According to Entertainment Tonight, they split after the Usher drama. "Keke and Darius called it quits shortly after he called her out on Twitter for her outfit at the Usher concert," said a source. "Keke is focusing on her work and her 6-month-old son. The actor and Darius have been co-parenting, but for now, they aren't together."
Neither Palmer nor Jackson confirm the split. In fact, he writes on social media that he hasn't authorized anyone to speak on his behalf. She also suggests that parts of the story in the media are wrong, writing, "Before you let what people say get you angry, consider the source."
On Aug. 21, Palmer appears on the cover of Essence with designer Sergio Hudson. In the interview, it notes Jackson is her "partner."
The article goes on to note: "Jackson took a lot of heat, but don't get it twisted, he and Palmer are still business as usual. In fact, on the day of the Essence cover shoot, Palmer is busy multitasking with gold under-eye patches — sitting in the chair getting her hair, makeup and nails done while simultaneously FaceTiming with Jackson about taking care of Leo ('You need to walk with the baby and burp him'); how often to feed him during the day ('Every four hours, Darius'); and the shelf life of breast milk when not refrigerated ('Don't give it to him if it's been out more than an hour')."
A spokesperson for Essence tells Yahoo, "At the time of this interview, Keke had not confirmed or denied the breakup rumors." And technically they still haven't. A rep for Palmer tells Yahoo, "We don’t comment on our clients’ personal lives."
On Palmer's 30th birthday on Saturday, the pair appeared in good spirits. Jackson took the actress out for a celebratory meal, during which he referred to her as his "partner in crime" in an Instagram Live video.
That same day, Jackson shared a sweet moment of a makeup-free Palmer playing with baby Leo: "Happy Birthday to a one of a kind being," he tweeted. "Hoping your 30s brings you many joys & triumphs!"
Happy Birthday to a one of a kind being. Hoping your 30s brings you many joys & triumphs! pic.twitter.com/HhMJy94YxC
— Darius. (@dvulton) August 26, 2023
Editor's note: This story was originally published on Aug. 21, 2023, and has been updated with new information.
— David Artavia contributed to this report.