Why Lupita Nyong'o Detailed Her “Pain and Heartbreak” After Selema Masekela Split

Lupita Nyong'o is appreciative of the public support she received after sharing the news of her breakup with Selema Masekela last fall.

By Hayley Santaflorentina Feb 26, 2024 8:25 PMTags
Watch: Joshua Jackson and Lupita Nyong'o at Concert Amid Splits

Lupita Nyong'o is grateful for the healing that comes from community. 

When the Black Panther star's relationship with Selema Masekela came to an end last fall, Lupita chose to share the news of her breakup publicly. Now she's revealing why she first decided to do so—and why she's so grateful she did. 

"In my mind, when I shared my relationship status with the world, it was because I felt sure about it," Lupita told Net-a-Porter in an interview published Feb. 26. So when her relationship came to an end, she added, "I was living in a lot of pain and heartbreak. I looked at the environment of my social media and thought, I don't want to be a part of this illusion that everything is always coming up roses. Surely there is a lesson for me to learn in this, and I just want to be real about it."

And she felt immediate relief after posting her vulnerable message in October.

"I knew how it could be interpreted; I knew it would have a life of its own," the 40-year-old said. "But then I started to see the comments and people were being so loving and supportive. The ones that moved me the most were other people sharing their pain and their heartbreak."

2024 Celebrity Breakups

But while she noted some of the best advice she's received is, "Our purpose in life is to love. And so you have to get back in it," Lupita also isn't looking to rush into something new—despite sparking romance rumors with Joshua Jackson at the end of 2023.

"I think what I've learned is, I've got to just face this thing that I'm going through," she explained. "I can't run away from it. And so I am not looking for its opposite right now."

Sebastian Reuter/Getty Images

Lupita and Selema were together for about one year before the Us actress wrote in October about "a love suddenly and devastatingly extinguished by deception."

"I am tempted to run into the shadows and hide, only to return to the light when I have regained my strength enough for me to say, 'Whatever, my life is better this way,'" she continued her Instagram statement. "But I am reminded that the magnitude of the pain I am feeling is equal to the measure of my capacity for love. And so, I am choosing to face the pain, cultivating the courage to meet my life exactly as it is, and trusting that this too shall pass."

For more of Lupita from over the years, keep reading. 

Daringly Divine

Lupita nails the 2019 MET Gala "Camp" theme in custom Versace inspired by John Walter's legendary drag queen, Divine.

Wine Not?

The actress poses with grace and elegance in this wine-colored gown.

Daring in Dior

The Black Panther actress carries the drama off-screen in this bold and beautiful Dior dress.

Studded & Dangerous

The budding horror queen wears a Balmain-studded transparent blazer-dress at the New York premiere of Us.

Ray of Light

Lupita beams in a Prabal Gurung patterned dress and a yellow cashmere coat by Mansur Gavriel outside Good Morning America.

Chic Becomes Her

The actress looks hauntingly beautiful at the London screening of Us wearing an Attico sequined tartan wrap dress and red contacts. 

Color Coordinated

The Oscar-winner is seen in a Prabal Gurung's sweater dress and a vibrant red Mackage overcoat outside The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Futuristic Entity

The actress is serving a Grace Jones-esque, other-worldly look in a Honayada white cut-out suit at the SXSW Premiere of Jordan Peele's sophomore film Us at SXSW.

Feathered Lady

Lupita Nyong'o was light as a feather as she attended the 2019 Vanity Fair Oscars party wearing this Oscar de la Renta one-shoulder gown.


The Kenyan-Mexican actress donned a golden power suit-inspired dress by Chanel as she partied ahead of the Oscars.

Pretty in Pink

The 36-year-old star was pretty in pink while attending a pre-Oscars bash with Vanity Fair and Lancome. 

Striped Style

Nyong'o sparkled in this saucy Balmain striped frock as she carried a diamond-crusted leopard Judith Leiber clutch.

Modern Mogul

The Us actress gave major boss-vibes in this Versace gold puffer jacket.

Sultry & Structured

Lupita wears a custom Vera Wang ensemble, pairing a structured blazer with a sheer jeweled skirt. She completes the look with feathered braids. 

Celestial Jewel

Black Panther's Lupita stuns on the red carpet in a Calvin Klein dress. This shining star never ceases to amaze us!

Fringed in White

Lupita pays homage to the Roaring Twenties in a fringed Tom Ford gown and teardrop earrings.

Colorful Clothing

For the Versace Fall 2019 fashion show, the Black Panther star goes bold and bright with a T-shirt, cardigan, skirt and heels of the same pop art-inspired print.

Wonderful in White

The actress dons the popular power suit, but opts for an all-white look with silver shoes to stand out.

Caged Chicness

The actress was fierce in a glamorous see-though Prada number, paired with a brown bodycon dress.

Pretty as A Peach

Lupita's shimmering, floor-sweeping Prada gown was a fashion highlight at the Cannes Film Festival.

Diamonds are Forever

The actress stuns in this timeless Giorgio Armani gown embellished with sparkling jewels and plunging neckline. 

Fabulous and Feathered

Lupita shows off a little skin in a gorgeous Dior Haute Couture gown.

Go Bananas

It's definitely not every day you see someone wearing a dress covered in bananas, but Lupita makes the Prada dress look timeless.

Royal Purple

The Black Panther star wore a show-stopping purple Atelier Versace dress with an embellished bodice for the world premiere of Black Panther

Black Swan

This black, flowy Elie Saab dress embodies elegance and power as the actress attended the EE BAFTAs.

Golden Statue

The actress looks strikingly similar to the Oscar Statuette in a golden Atelier Versace for the 90th Annual Academy Awards.

Light as a Feather

The Black Panther actress sauntered down the red carpet at the 2018 SAG Awards in a Ralph and Russo gown.

Fashion Force

The stunning actress turned heads in a glittering green Halpern dress at the premiere of Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Line It Up

This striped jumpsuit the actress wore while promoting Star Wars: The Force Awakens flatters her in every way. The vertical stripes elongate her legs while the horizontal ones give her more shape up top. 

All Ruffled Up

The 12 Years a Slave star proved a simple satin dress will go far, especially when a few ruffle details flow down. 

View More Photos From Lupita Nyong'o's Best Looks
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