- Keke, 30, accused her ex of ‘physical and mental abuse’ in new court documents
- She requested a restraining order and full custody of their son, Leo
- As the horrific details come to light, FEMAIL uncovered what went wrong
Keke Palmer stunned the world when she filed explosive court documents against her ex-boyfriend Darius Jackson this week, asking for full custody of their son and accusing him of ‘physical and mental abuse.’
The actress, 30, claimed that there were ‘many instances of violence’ throughout her and Darius’ two-year romance – and included a series of horrific images that showed the fitness guru, 30, allegedly beating her to back up her claims.
She also said she had become extremely ‘concerned’ for their eight-month-old son’s safety, after witnessing Darius ‘become frustrated’ with the infant’s crying and ‘get rough’ with him.
The two constantly gushed over one another in interviews and shared adorable, PDA-filled photos together – and Keke even called Darius her ‘safe space’ and said she was the ‘happiest she had ever been’ during the early stages of their romance.
The two announced that they were expecting their first child together in December 2022, and the Nope alum could not stop gushing over how ‘supportive’ Darius was throughout the pregnancy.
And after their son, Leo, was born in February 2023, the actress had nothing but positive things to say about her beau, describing him as an ‘attentive’ and ‘dedicated’ father.
But in July 2023, the first signs that there was trouble in paradise emerged when Darius publicly shamed the former Disney star for wearing a sheer dress and thong bodysuit to an Usher concert.
He went on a fierce tirade against his then-girlfriend on social media after a video of her dancing with the R&B singer at the show went viral.
He insisted that a ‘mom’ shouldn’t ‘showcase her booty cheeks’ – and his comments sparked a furious reaction from Keke’s fans and fellow mothers alike, who quickly came to her defense.
It seemed like Keke and Darius’ romance had come to an end after that – the two unfollowed each other on Instagram, and Keke seemed to send a strong message to Darius when she teamed up with Usher to star in the music video of his new song, entitled Boyfriend, soon after.
But they were spotted together again on Keke’s 30th birthday a month later. The two also cozied up at a Beyoncé concert in September, leading many to believe that they had worked through the drama.
While the stars put on a united front to the outside world, Keke has now made it clear through her bombshell accusations that not everything was as it seemed.
She not only alleged that Darius physically assaulted her while they were together, but she also claimed that he would often degrade her by calling her names like ‘s**t’ and ‘w***e,’ take away her car keys so she couldn’t leave, and threaten to hurt her or himself if she split from him.
As the heinous details of Keke and Darius’ tumultuous romance come to light, FEMAIL is lifting the lid on everything we know about the former couple.
From how he drew her in with his ‘sweetheart’ personality to the moment things took a gruesome turn, here’s a complete timeline to Keke and Darius’ relationship – and messy split.
How it started: Keke called Darius her ‘safe space’ and said she was the ‘happiest she has ever been’ during the early months of their romance, after being drawn in by his ‘sweetheart’ personality
Keke and Darius first crossed paths in May 2021, at a Memorial Day party hosted by Diddy and Issa Rae for the cast of the HBO series Insecure.
Darius attended the bash with his brother, actor Sarunas Jackson, who had played Dro in the show.
Keke, who appeared in season five of Insecure as Condola’s sister Kira, later recalled spotting Darius from across the room and being instantly attracted to him.
And while she wasn’t looking for a boyfriend at the time, as soon as they started talking, she said she couldn’t resist his ‘sweetheart’ personality.
‘Here’s the thing, he’s very fine. But he has that personality where it’s like, “Do you know you’re fine?”‘ she explained during an appearance on The Terrell Show earlier this year.
‘My best friend was like, “You should just say something to him. You should ask if he wants a drink.”
‘When I walked up to him, I was not looking for love. I was looking for a roster, you understand?
‘So I was like, “He fits the physical bill.” But when I talked to him… he was such a sweetheart. I think what I saw was he’s just a sweet guy.’
While they kept their romance out of the spotlight at first, they made their debut as a couple in August 2021, when they attended Keke’s birthday celebration together.
At the time, the Nope star uploaded a series of photos from the event, which showed her and Darius cuddling up and kissing.
Keke spoke out about her decision to go public with her and Darius’ romance after keeping it private for months to Bustle in March 2022.
‘I just think it was a moment in time in my life where I really stepped into this kind of boss behavior [of doing] whatever the hell I want to do,’ she said.
‘This is the happiest I’ve ever felt with someone. So why would I go out of my way to hide this person?
‘That’s a lot more work than just living in my life and being in my life. You know what I’m saying?’
After going public, the two were certainly not shy about showing off their love, and they started sharing a slew of loved-up photos together and gushing about one another online.
‘You’ve been a blessing from above and I thank you for showing me a lot of feelings I didn’t know I had in me,’ Darius wrote on Instagram in a post dedicated to Keke a few weeks after her birthday bash.
‘Never would have expected summer 2021 to turn out the way it did, but here we are.
‘I’m glad we were able to help each other throughout our lowest of times and show one another that what we are bringing to the table is everything that we got.’
She captioned a post of her own later that month, ‘Without being too mushy because I hate that, it feels really nice to not be afraid to show this kind of care for someone that I don’t share the same blood with.
‘I thought it could never happen, I can be quite guarded, but I appreciate you for being a safe space. I will always cherish what you have given me.’
Expanding their family: Keke and Darius welcomed their son in February 2023 – and the actress couldn’t stop gushing over how amazing he was as a dad afterwards
In December 2022, Keke announced that she and Darius were expecting their first child together.
She shared the exciting news during an appearance on Saturday Night Live – ripping open her jacket to reveal her growing baby bump.
‘This has been the biggest blessing. I’m so excited, guys. I’m going to be a mom,’ she gushed at the time.
On Instagram, she added, ‘This year has taken me for a ride. And how cool, my baby and I are already doing it all together.
‘Thank you God … and thank you to my other half Darius for giving me the things that only true unity can bring.
‘Love is all we have isn’t it, you do nothing in this world alone and trust me, I am not alone. Very grateful.’
She later reflected on the moment she found out she was pregnant during an episode of her Baby This Is Keke Palmer podcast.
‘I took the test, and it came back negative. I didn’t have the lines on there, so I just threw it in the trash,’ she shared.
‘And so I go out… and all of a sudden, I get a text from Darius, and he says, “When did you take this?” And it’s a picture of the pregnancy test and it’s positive.
‘As soon as I come home, me and him, I do 10 of ’em back-to-back, back-to-back, back-to-back. All positive.’
While speaking to Vanity Fair in February 2023, Keke said that Darius was extremely supportive to her during the pregnancy.
‘I felt the support of my partner during [pregnancy] in a way that’s not anything I have had before,’ she revealed.
‘Ever since I met him, [he’s shown] a selflessness. Making sure that I’m not alone, making sure I have support.
‘I think that’s all you can ask from anyone. And I’ve only ever really had that kind of support from my family – and it’s funny, because now we are family.’
They welcomed their son, Leodis Andrellton Jackson, or Leo for short, just days later, on February 25, 2023.
In April 2023, Keke opened up about what Darius is like as a father to Entertainment Tonight, and she described him as ‘attentive’ and ‘dedicated.’
‘I guess I don’t know what I would’ve expected, but I think he’s just so attentive,’ she said.
‘I guess that’s what you want all fathers to be. But it’s even more than I expected it. I just really am grateful to have such an amazing partner to do this with.
‘I think that is obviously why we had the kid together. I saw way before that he had the dedication, the patience and the discipline to be an amazing dad, and that’s why I wanted to have my baby with him.’
She also shared a sweet tribute to him on Father’s Day in June 2023, writing, ‘Happy Father’s Day to the best dad ever (don’t tell my dad I said that).
‘Congrats Mr. Man, Leodis and I are so very happy to have such a fun, kind, responsible, dependable, and supportive man like you in our lives.
‘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. God bless you darling, thank you for being in our lives. WE LOVE YOU.’
The first signs of trouble in paradise: Darius publicly shamed Keke for wearing a thong bodysuit and sheer dress to an Usher concert, tweeting that a ‘mom’ shouldn’t ‘showcase her booty cheeks’
In July 2023, the first signs that there was trouble in paradise arose after Keke attended Usher’s concert in Las Vegas with some friends and donned a sheer dress with a black, thong bodysuit underneath.
Darius was not a fan of Keke’s look and took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to publicly shame her for the ensemble afterwards.
‘It’s the outfit though… you a mom,’ he captioned a video that showed Keke dancing, enjoying the concert, and embracing Usher as he performed.
He added in a follow-up tweet, ‘We live in a generation where a man of the family doesn’t want the wife and mother to his kids to showcase booty cheeks to please others and he gets told how much of a hater he is.
‘This is my family and my representation. I have standards and morals to what I believe. I rest my case.’
Following his controversial posts, Darius deleted all photos that included Keke off of his Instagram feed and the two unfollowed each other, which lead to speculation that they had split.
When asked by The Cut if she had a message to the moms who had come to her defense amid the scandal days later, Keke subtly addressed the situation by encouraging others to wear whatever they feel comfortable in.
‘Do you, new moms. Do you. Girl, if there’s one person on this earth that loves you for sure, it’s that baby,’ she said.
‘Be happy, because there’s no love like it. Somebody loving you like that, hell, who cares?’
She also indirectly replied to Darius’ statements by releasing a line of merch that said the words ‘I’m a motha’ sprawled across the front.
‘One thing is certain and one thing is true, IM A MOTHA, through and through,’ she wrote on social media while promoting the new clothes.
She also teamed up with Usher and starred in the music video for his new song, entitled Boyfriend, in August 2023.
‘Somebody said that your boyfriend’s lookin’ for me. Oh, that’s cool, that’s cool,’ the R&B sensation sang in the track. ‘Well, he should know I’m pretty easy to find. Just look for me wherever he sees you.’
In the visual for it, Keke dreamed about dancing with Usher on a casino floor because she accidentally slept through his concert.
‘Damn it, I missed the show! S**t, I’m so tired,’ she exclaimed before winking to the camera and adding, ‘I am a mother, after all.’
Back together? Despite the drama, Keke spent her 30th birthday with Darius – and told Today show hosts to ‘mind their business’ when they asked her about the status of their relationship
Despite the drama, Keke and Darius spent her 30th birthday together on August 26. At the time, he did a livestream on Instagram with Keke, while the two enjoyed a lunch together.
He also posted a short clip that showed the actress snuggling with their son to X, writing, ‘Happy birthday to a one of a kind being. Hoping your 30s brings you many joys and triumphs.’
The two stars also attended a Beyoncé concert together in Los Angeles in September.
But when asked about the status of her and Darius’ relationship by Today hosts Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager during an appearance on the show weeks later, she quickly shut them down by telling them to ‘mind their own business.’
‘Hey, listen, you were a talk show host. You know?’ Jenna fired back to Keke after she slammed them for trying to ‘get all into’ her personal life. ‘We want to know if you’re happy.’
‘Yes, life is good. I have nothing but gratitude, honestly,’ Keke responded.
The shocking allegations: Keke filed a restraining order against Darius this week and accused him of ‘physical and emotional abuse,’ while asking for full legal and physical custody of their son
Earlier this week, it was revealed that Keke had filed a restraining order against Darius and accused him of ‘physical and emotional abuse’ – while asking for full legal and physical custody of their son.
According to court documents obtained by DailyMail.com, she alleged that Darius had abused her as recently as November 5, when he ‘trespassed into her home without her knowledge or consent’ and ‘threatened’ her before ‘lunging for her neck, striking her, throwing her over the couch and stealing her phone.’
Along with her filing, Keke included screenshots of alleged security footage to back up the claims. The images, seemingly taken inside her home, showed a man striking a woman over a sofa.
In the legal papers, Keke said that there had been ‘many instances of physical violence’ throughout their two-year relationship, which she said ‘ended for good’ early last month.
Other incidents listed by Keke in the documents included him destroying her personal property, throwing her belongings into the street, taking away her car keys to prevent her from driving away, spewing profanities about her to their son, threatening to kill himself with a gun if she left him, and even hitting her in front of their son.
She claimed that on September 26, 2023, Darius became ‘very frustrated with Leo’ because he was ‘crying while Darius changed his diaper.’
She said her former partner ‘started getting rough with Leo physically’ before ‘she stepped in to make sure Darius would not hurt him.’
Keke alleged: ‘Darius was angry and it almost became a tug of war with Leo. Darius finally let go and Leo was not harmed, but as I was holding Leo trying to comfort him and finish changing his diaper, Darius hit me in the head before storming out of the room.’
The actress also shared alleged incidents of emotional abuse, writing in the court documents, ‘If we were at a party or event, and I spoke with one person too long or looked at someone a “certain way,” he would storm off in a rage – telling me I was a ‘s**t’ and a ‘w***e,’ accuse me of cheating on him, and that I did not love him.’
She expressed ‘concern for Leo’s safety’ due to the incidents, adding, ‘It is because of our son, Leo, that I was finally able to end my relationship with Darius once and for all and escape the abuse.
‘Leo is the most important thing in the entire world to me; he needs and deserves to be safe and grow up in an environment free from violence.’
Amid the allegations, Darius shared a snap of himself holding their son to X, which he captioned, ‘I love you, son. See you soon.’
His brother, Sarunas, also addressed Keke’s claims in a now-deleted post, which saw him call the actress ‘a disgusting, vile, abusive, manipulative person.’
Keke’s mom, Sharon, responded to Sarunas’ message in a scathing post of her own.
She said in an Instagram video, ‘For Sarunas Jackson to post on his Twitter the ridiculous stuff he posted when he knew his brother was abusive.
‘I went to Sarunas over a year ago and told him that his brother was abusive to my daughter, and he said, “Well, I used to be like that too”
‘So now he’s posting on Twitter like he’s this special guy when we know he’s the biggest f***k-boy in Hollywood. He’s disrespectful to women just like his brother.’
The video was captioned: ‘I dare you, mess with my family. Family means everything to me.
‘You and your family act like sociopaths and like the world can’t see it. You are phony and I saw you from day one,
‘My daughter is kind and our family treated you with kindness and this is how you treat it. I won’t take this laying down anymore. I’m done.’
Keke was given temporary sole legal and physical custody of Leo on Thursday – with a hearing set for December 5 to determine the next steps.
A judge also reportedly granted a temporary restraining order that states he must stay at least 100 yards away from Keke and the eight-month-old, as well ‘as any childcare or schooling established for the infant.’