How Tracee Ellis Ross Discovered ‘Joyful Solitude’ Without A Husband Or Children

Tracee Ellis Ross is one of the biggest names in Hollywood. From her famous family to her own work in movies and television, Ross’ name is always popping up in headlines. However, not much is known about her romantic life, or why she’s remained single all these years. 

Ross’ Perspective On Singleness And Relationships

Ross is the daughter of Motown superstar Diana Ross and music business manager Robert Ellis Silberstein. Growing up in a famous family taught Ross what was “sacred” for her in terms of her private life.

“I was born into a very public family,” Ross told ABC News. “What is important to me [is] what is sacred in my life.” While keeping some things under wraps is important to the actress, she was quick to say that she’ll never say never. 

“I think there’s no one rule that works for everything,” she explained. “I don’t make a decision like ‘I will never talk about my relationships.’ [But] here are certain things that are sacred to me that are not for public consumption. They are mine and they are meant to stay sacred.”

Ross keeps her private life private, but she did share her relationship status in the 2017 interview. The actress said that she was “single…and loving myself more than I ever thought possible,” adding that cultural and societal expectations of what she needed to feel “full or whole has not happened, and yet what has happened is so perfect.”

The actress did reveal that she once dreamed about a husband and kids. “Well, how could you not?” she told Marie Claire. “Our society spoon-feeds it to you. I used to put myself to sleep dreaming of my wedding. And I would still love all of that, but what am I going to do, just sit around waiting? Shut up. I’ve got so many things to do.”

Ross reiterated that sentiment in an interview with Shape, calling herself “happily single.” She shared that she was “open” to a relationship, but it wasn’t something she was actively pursuing. 

“In my wonderful and robust experience of being single, I have learned to have a productive relationship with loneliness and an intensely juicy relationship with my joyful solitude,” Ross shared. “I really enjoy my company.”

No, She And Black-ish Co-Star Anthony Anderson Have Never Been In A Relationship

Even though Tracee Ellis Ross is very open about her single status, that hasn’t stopped the rumor mill from churning. Many have wondered if she and her Black-ish co-star Anthony Anderson have ever been romantically linked. 

2015 photo of the Black-ish cast including Anthony Anderson and Tracee Ellis Ross
Yara Shahidi, Anthony Anderson, Marcus Scribner, Tracee Ellis Ross, Marsai Martin, Miles Brown at the “Black-ish” event at the PDC on April 17, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Kathy Hutchins/

The pair are friends now, but Anderson revealed that wasn’t always the case. “We laugh about this now, but Tracee didn’t like me for maybe 10 years!” the actor told Parade. The beef started when Anderson and Ross hosted the Vibe Awards in 2005.

“As we were walking onto the stage there was a loud sound over the speaker, and I said, ‘Tracee? Did you fart?’ The audience loved it, but what I did not know is how offended Tracee was by that comment,” Anderson said. 

The animosity continued through 2011, when Anderson appeared on Reed Between the Lines with the actress. According to him, she didn’t even want to be on the set with him, but Anderson claimed he had no clue it was because she didn’t like him. Instead, he thought she was being overly respectful by letting him have the set to himself. 

“Looking back on it, she didn’t want to be around me!” he laughed. “She really didn’t start liking me until we were midway through the first season of Black-ish, and so we laugh about it now.” Nowadays, the pair are close friends, with Anderson telling Los Angeles Magazine, “I would do anything for her today and I believe she would do the same for me.” 

She Once Dated Abou ‘Bu’ Thiam

Ross is extremely private when it comes to her romantic life, but there is one relationship that has been confirmed. Ross was in a pretty serious relationship with music exec Abou “Bu” Thiam, brother of singer Akon. 

While appearing on The Breakfast Club, Thiam gave some details about the relationship and why they split up. “Yeah, I was in love,” he remembered. “Me and Tracee [were going to] be lovers forever, man. Like, I really do believe that. Me and her have this genuine, unconditional relationship. … And anybody that comes in my life, like, they have to know that and vice versa with her.”

According to him, the reason for their breakup was down to his inability to fully dedicate himself to the relationship. “If I can’t give her all of me, I don’t wanna waste … her time,” Thiam explained. “So why not give her the opportunity to find somebody else that can?” The time frame of their relationship is unclear, but some reports have put it between 2011 and 2013. 

Unfounded Rumors Of A Romance With Kenya Barris

There were more romance rumors in 2020, with some claiming she and Black-ish creator Kenya Barris were coupled up. In 2019, Barris filed for divorce from his wife, and LoveBScott alleged the showrunner and Ross started a relationship. 

The site said “multiple sources” said the pair were together but had no other proof of a relationship. Neither Barris nor Ross ever commented publicly on the relationship rumors, and based on the lack of evidence, it seems highly unlikely the pair were ever romantically involved. 

Ross’ dedication to keeping certain things in her life “sacred” means there are very few tales about her dating history, and that the public stays pretty focused on her work—and that’s just how Ross wants it.

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