Keke Palmer found love with Darius Jackson nearly two years before they welcomed their first child — but their romance fizzled out in 2023.
“You’ve been a blessing from above,” Jackson gushed of the Nope star via his Instagram in August 2021. “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 & show one another that what we are bringing to the table is everything that we got.”
Less than two years later, the couple announced in December 2022 that they were expecting their first child. Their son, Leodis Andrellton Jackson, arrived in February 2023.
Shortly after welcoming baby Leo, personal trainer Jackson publicly praised Palmer. “This might be the first time I’ve seen you touched up post-child,” he quipped in a joint April 2023 Twitch video. “You look beautiful.”
Six months later, the pair parted ways. Us Weekly confirmed via court documents filed by Palmer in November 2023 that she is seeking full custody of their son.
Keep reading for a timeline of Palmer and Jackson’s relationship:
The twosome connected in early 2021, shortly before Jackson made an appearance at Palmer’s 28th birthday bash. In party snaps shared on the former child star’s Instagram in August, the couple cuddled and kissed during the festivities.
During an interview with Bustle, Palmer issued her first comments about their relationship.
“I just think [this] 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 told the outlet of initially deciding to keep their relationship private. “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 Palmer fueled speculation that she was pregnant with her first child, she confirmed the rumors in her Saturday Night Live monologue.
“But, honestly this has been the biggest blessing, and I am so excited. Guys, I’m going to be a mom,” she gushed on the 30 Rock stage while cradling her baby bump. “Even though some people feel a little weird about me having a baby ‘cause I was a child actor, I just wanna say, ‘Look, I’m 29, I’m grown, I have sex [and] I own a home. … You know, things adults do.’”
Jackson watched the sketch show from backstage, sharing behind-the-scene pics via his Instagram Story.
Palmer announced on February 27 that she had given birth to son Leo earlier that month.
The Scream Queens alum and her friends went to see Usher’s Las Vegas concert, where Palmer stunned in a black, sheer gown. Jackson, however, did not approve of her look.
“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 wrote via Twitter before deleting his account. “This is my family & my representation. I have standards & morals to what I believe. I rest my case.”
Amid backlash, Palmer did not immediately address his comments. She did, however, gush over her evening out and seemingly take a dig at his remarks. “I wish I had taken more pictures but we were running late! I am telling y’all right now, if you haven’t seen @usher YOU MUST GO!! HE WAS SO FABULOUS!!” she captioned Instagram pics from the show. “Giving theater, Atlanta downnn, tips and tricks and just absolutely iconic. I was truly inspired as a performer. I whooped some ass in spades too!”
Palmer threw shade at Jackson in the “Boyfriend” music video, on which she collaborated with Usher. “What time is it? Dammit, I missed the show. I’m so tired. I’m a mother after all,” she quips in the footage.
Amid the drama, a source exclusively told Us Weekly that Palmer and Jackson’s relationship is “complicated.”
“Those close to them hope they can work things out for the sake of themselves and their child,” the insider noted, adding: “They love each other. But they keep their life very private.”
Us confirmed that Palmer filed for a restraining order against Jackson one month after the end of their relationship. She claimed in the filing that there have been “many instances of physical violence” with Jackson throughout their time together. She alleged some of the acts include “destroying my personal property, including diaries and prescription eyeglasses, throwing my belongings into the street, throwing my car keys to prevent me from driving away, hitting [me] in front of our son, spewing profanities about me to our son, threatening to kill himself with a gun if I left him, harassment, and other physical and emotional abuse.”
Palmer is also requesting full custody of the pair’s son.