Gabourey Sidibe

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Gabourey Sidibe
Sidibe in 2014
Born (1983-05-06) May 6, 1983 (age 41)
Other namesGabby Sidibe
Alma materBorough of Manhattan Community College
Years active2009–present
Brandon Frankel
(m. 2021)
ParentAlice Tan Ridley (mother)
RelativesDorothy Pitman Hughes (aunt)

Gabourey "Gabby" Sidibe (/ˈɡæbəˌr ˈsɪdɪˌb/ GAB-ə-ray SID-i-bay; born May 6, 1983)[1] is an American actress. She made her acting debut in the 2009 film Precious, a role that earned her the Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Lead, in addition to nominations for the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Actress. Her other film roles include Tower Heist (2011), White Bird in a Blizzard (2014), Grimsby (2016), and Antebellum (2020).

From 2010 to 2013, she was a main cast member of the Showtime series The Big C. Sidibe co-starred in the television series American Horror Story arcs Coven (2013–2014) as Queenie and Freak Show (2014–2015) as Regina Ross, and later reprised her role as Queenie in Hotel (2015–2016) and Apocalypse (2018). From 2015 to 2020, she starred in the Fox musical drama series Empire as Becky Williams.

Early life[edit]

Sidibe was born in New York City in the Bedford–Stuyvesant, Brooklyn neighborhood, and was raised in Harlem.[2] Her mother, Alice Tan Ridley, is an American R&B and gospel singer who appeared on the fifth season of America's Got Talent, on June 15, 2010. Her father, Ibnou Sidibe, is from Senegal and is a cab driver.[3] Growing up, Sidibe lived with her aunt, feminist activist Dorothy Pitman Hughes.[4] She holds an associate degree from Borough of Manhattan Community College and attended but did not graduate from City College of New York and Mercy College.[5] She worked at The Fresh Air Fund's office as a receptionist before pursuing an acting career.[6]


In Precious, Sidibe played the main character, Claireece "Precious" Jones, a 16-year-old mother of two (the result of Precious being raped by her father) who tries to escape abuse at the hands of her mother. The film won numerous awards, including two Academy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, and Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Award.[7] On December 15, 2009, she was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture Drama for her performance in Precious. The next month she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Her next film, Yelling to the Sky, was a Sundance Lab project directed by Victoria Mahoney and starring Zoe Kravitz, in which she played Latonya Williams, a bully.[8] In 2011, Sidibe was in the film Tower Heist and voiced a character in "Hot Water", the first episode of season 7 of American Dad! She appeared in the season 8 American Dad! episode "Stanny Tendergrass" early in 2013, and starred in the music video for "Don't Stop (Color on the Walls)" by the indie pop band Foster the People. Sidibe also appeared in the Showtime network series The Big C as Andrea Jackson.

Sidibe said in 2012 that before she was hired for the 2009 film Precious, she was advised by Joan Cusack not to pursue the entertainment industry, advising Sidibe to quit the business since "it's so image-conscious."[9]

By April 2013, Sidibe had joined the cast of American Horror Story season 3, portraying Queenie, a young witch.[10] She returned to the series for its fourth season, American Horror Story: Freak Show as a secretarial school student, Regina Ross.[11] From 2015, she stars in Lee Daniels' Fox musical series Empire as Becky Williams alongside Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson. Sidibe portrays the head of A&R in the Empire company.[12] As of April 2015, Sidibe was promoted to a series regular in season 2.[13] She also starred in the Hulu series Difficult People as Denise.[14]

In 2015, publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced Sidibe would be writing a memoir set to be published in 2017.[15] On January 6, 2016, Sidibe appeared in the penultimate episode of American Horror Story: Hotel, reprising her Coven role as Queenie, marking her third season in the series. After sitting out subsequent seasons Roanoke and Cult, Sidibe returned to American Horror Story in 2018, appearing once again as her character Queenie in its eighth season, Apocalypse.

Personal life[edit]

In March 2017, Sidibe revealed that she had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and underwent laparoscopic bariatric surgery in an effort to manage her weight.[16]

In November 2020, Sidibe announced her engagement to Brandon Frankel, a talent manager with Cameo.[17][18][19] The couple married in March 2021.[20]

In February 2024, Sidibe and her husband announced that she was pregnant with twins.[21]


Sidibe in July 2010


Year Title Role Notes
2009 Precious Claireece Precious Jones
2011 Yelling to the Sky Latonya Williams
Tower Heist Odessa Montero
2012 Seven Psychopaths Sharice
2014 White Bird in a Blizzard Beth
Life Partners Jen
Top Five Herself Cameo
2015 Gravy Winketta
2016 Grimsby Banu
2019 Come As You Are Sam
2020 Antebellum Dawn
2022 Asking for It Rudy


Year Title Role Notes
2010 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Gabourey Sidibe/MGMT"
2010–13 The Big C Andrea Jackson 30 episodes
2011 Glenn Martin, DDS Keisha Voice, episode: "Date with Destiny"
American Dad! Herself (live action cutaway appearance) Episode: "Stanny Tendergrass"
2012 American Dad! Party girl Voice, episode: "Hot Water"
2013–14 American Horror Story: Coven Queenie 12 episodes
2014 American Horror Story: Freak Show Regina Ross 3 episodes
2015–20 Empire Becky Williams 90 episodes
2015–17 Difficult People Denise 12 episodes
2016 American Horror Story: Hotel Queenie Episode: "Battle Royale"
Brad Neely's Harg Nallin' Sclopio Peepio Various 10 episodes
Drunk History Ella Fitzgerald Episode: "Legends"
2017 BoJack Horseman Tamera Voice, episode: "The Old Sugarman Place"
2018 American Horror Story: Apocalypse Queenie 5 episodes
2021 Santa Inc. Goldie 8 episodes
2022 American Horror Stories Jaslyn Taylor Episode: "Aura"
All I Didn't Want for Christmas Emily Harris Television film
2023 The Prank Panel[22] Herself (host)

Video games[edit]

Music videos[edit]


  • Sidibe, Gabourey (2017). This Is Just My Face: Try Not to Stare. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. ISBN 978-0-544-78676-9.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gabourey Sidibe Biography". TV Guide. Archived from the original on July 3, 2015.
  2. ^ Stated on the Late Show with David Letterman, November 9, 2009.
  3. ^ Hartman, Susan (September 16, 2016). "After Years Underground, a Subway Singer Gets the Spotlight". The New York Times. Retrieved November 12, 2022.
  4. ^ Marcus, Stephanie (May 2, 2014). "Gabourey Sidibe's Speech on Confidence is Incredibly Moving". HuffPost. Retrieved May 6, 2014.
  5. ^ "Gabourey Sidibe profile". Right Cinema. Archived from the original on December 2, 2013. Retrieved May 16, 2010.
  6. ^ Sawyers, Susan (June 15, 2010). "A Breath of Fresh Air". New York Social Diary. Archived from the original on August 22, 2013. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  7. ^ Zeitchik, Ed (January 24, 2009). "'Push' takes Sundance grand jury award". The Hollywood Reporter.
  8. ^ Yadegaran, Jessica (November 12, 2009), "Gabourey Sidibe on being 'Precious'", Mercury News, retrieved November 15, 2009
  9. ^ Sidibe in "Show Highlight: Bye, Bye, Bye Justin Timberlake". Watch What Happens Live. Season 6. Episode 71. April 25, 2012. Event occurs at 01:31. Bravo. Retrieved November 25, 2020. I know that she meant well. I met Joan Cusack, who is my favorite-favorite, ... and I was at some industry party and she says, 'Are you an actress?' And I said, 'Yeah.' And she says, 'Oh, honey, you should really quit the business — it's so image-conscious. And I think she really, really meant it in a good way. ... But I was, like, 'Oh, but I love you. Please don't tell me to quit my job!' and as reported at Fisher, Kelly (April 26, 2012). "Gabourey Sidibe: Joan Cusack Told Me To Quit Show Business". HuffPost. Archived from the original on November 25, 2020. Retrieved April 27, 2012.
  10. ^ Keveney, Bill (April 29, 2013). "Gabourey Sidibe joins 'American Horror Story: Coven'". USA Today. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  11. ^ "'American Horror Story: Freak Show' adds Michael Chiklis; Emma Roberts and Gabourey Sidibe returning". Zap2it. Archived from the original on January 23, 2015. Retrieved June 21, 2014.
  12. ^ "Empire Close Up: Gabourey Sidibe as Becky Williams". Fox. Archived from the original on March 21, 2015. Retrieved March 27, 2015.
  13. ^ Aussiello, Michael (April 12, 2015). "Empire Promotes Pair to Series Regular". TVline. Archived from the original on May 13, 2021. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  14. ^ Bierly, Mandi (March 24, 2015). "Gabourey Sidibe Talks Joining Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner in Their Hulu Comedy 'Difficult People' and Life Inside 'Empire'". Yahoo!. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  15. ^ Biedenharn, Isabella (June 3, 2015). "Empire actress Gabourey Sidibe to publish memoir". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  16. ^ Nelson, Jeff (March 8, 2017). "Gabourey Sidibe Opens Up About Weight-Loss Surgery for the First Time: 'I Love My Body Now'". People. Retrieved March 11, 2017.
  17. ^ Sibide, Gabourey (November 24, 2020). "It's weird that people think we're already married [...]". Gabourey Sibide verified Instagram account. Archived from the original on December 26, 2021. Retrieved November 25, 2020. My BFF proposed and now I get to hold him forever.
  18. ^ Macke, Johnni (November 24, 2020). "Gabourey Sidibe Is Engaged to Brandon Frankel After More Than 1 Year of Dating". Us Weekly. Archived from the original on November 25, 2020. Retrieved November 25, 2020.
  19. ^ Schonfeld, Alexandra (May 11, 2022). "Gabourey Sidibe Wants a Nontraditional Wedding and Gown: 'I Definitely Don't Need a White Dress'". People. Retrieved May 13, 2022.
  20. ^ "Gabourey Sidibe Reveals She Married Fiancé Brandon Frankel Over a Year Ago: 'Surprise!'". Peoplemag. Retrieved December 5, 2022.
  21. ^ France, Lisa Respers (February 27, 2024). "Gabourey Sidibe is expecting twins". CNN. Retrieved February 28, 2024.
  22. ^ Cordero, Rosy (November 1, 2022). "Johnny Knoxville, Eric André & Gabourey Sidibe To Lead Prank Reality Series For ABC". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved November 1, 2022.
  23. ^ Romano, Sal (June 13, 2023). "High On Life DLC 'High On Knife' announced". Gematsu. Retrieved June 14, 2023.

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