'Empire' Star Bryshere Gray Went From Hollywood Royalty to Police Station Regular

Bryshere Gray was beloved on 'Empire' but ever since, he's fallen into a series of arrests and negative attention.

Jamie Lerner - Author

Feb. 26 2024, Published 1:54 p.m. ET

Bryshere Gray in 'Empire'
Source: Getty Images

Content warning: This article contains descriptions of domestic violence.

Every so often, a star rises from anonymity into royalty, and that’s exactly what happened to Bryshere Gray when he starred in Empire. At just 22 years old, Bryshere began his acting career as Hakeem Lyon opposite Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard, and Jussie Smollett. But something happened after starring in the musical drama that changed his life forever.

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In 2020, a scandal headed Bryshere’s way after an alleged domestic violence incident shook up his reputation. And ever since then, he’s been in and out of the news for related events. He’s even said that Empire was the downfall of his career since his goal was to be a rapper under the pseudonym “Yazz the Greatest,” not an actor. So what is Bryshere up to now?

Bryshere Gray rapping in 'Empire'
Source: Getty Images
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What happened to Bryshere Gray?

Like Will Smith, Bryshere was born and raised in West Philadelphia. Bryshere kicked off his career by performing at music festivals in 2013 when he was just 19 years old; that same year his debut single, “Respect,” was released. But in 2015, he snagged a role in Empire and he shot to stardom.

Naturally, this can be challenging for any young person in the spotlight. In 2019, he was pulled over for a random stop in Chicago, but the cops discovered his car’s documents didn’t match the registration. In addition, he was found to be driving without a license. Both were marked as misdemeanors, so he went on with his life, but his legal troubles continued into 2020.

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Bryshere Gray 2022 Mugshot
Source: Getty Images

Bryshere Gray in a 2022 mugshot

When he moved out of his rented apartment after Empire was done filming, the landlord actually sued for over $26,000 in damages. Bryshere left toilets clogged, used condoms around, and even dog poop smeared throughout the apartment, according to the landlord’s documents. But the worst came in July 2020 when Candace Jimdar, Bryshere’s wife at the time, ran into the streets to get help from random passersby.

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Candace went to the police and explained the situation. He allegedly assaulted her for several hours and strangled her until she lost consciousness. She had visible injuries and was brought to the hospital while police attempted to take Bryshere to the police station. It turned into a nine-hour stand-off with a SWAT team and negotiation squad to get Bryshere to leave his home willingly.

Bryshere Gray talking to police
Source: YouTube/@Misstee

Bryshere Gray talking to police

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He was immediately taken to Maricopa County Jail in Arizona on three charges — felony aggravated assault, misdemeanor assault, and misdemeanor disorderly conduct. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 10 days in county jail in addition to three years of probation, which started in May 2021. That means he would still be on probation today.

Now, Bryshere Gray is trying to reinvent his music career as he faces more legal challenges.

Unfortunately for Bryshere (and several women), the incident with his ex-wife wasn’t his last run-in with domestic violence. In November 2022, TMZ reported another incident in which cops were called because a woman he was seeing who said that "his behavior was escalating and she was concerned for her safety." He allegedly threw a box of food at her and pulled her hair.

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Bryshere also had a domestic-related disturbance the month before and additionally, he didn’t tell his probation officer about the incidents. He was again arrested after a judge signed a warrant for the domestic violence charges in addition to a probation violation. But rumors spread in late 2023 that Bryshere was allegedly a sexual-abuse victim of Will Smith and Sean Combs.

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While these claims haven’t been corroborated, it seems like he’s now making steps toward reinvigorating his career. After not posting on Instagram since July 2023, Bryshere shared his first post on Jan. 30, 2024, making a heart with his hands on his chest and the caption, “Drop ah “❤️” If You’re Ready For What GOD has for you in 2024.” Perhaps he’s finally changing his ways.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.

If you need support, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673 or visit RAINN.org to chat online one-on-one with a support specialist at any time.

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