Meet Cynthia Erivo: The Woman Lena Waithe Allegedly Cheated On Her Wife With

The British actress has a Tony award and an impressive film resume. And now relationship rumors.

Who Is Cynthia Erivo? New Details On The Woman Lena Waithe Allegedly Cheated On Her Wife With Getty

Harriet Tubman was denied her place on the twenty-dollar bill, but she did get a tribute on film that was released in November 2019. Harriet, a movie about the hero of the Underground Railroad, featured movie and Broadway star Cynthia Erivo in the title role.

Who is Cynthia Erivo? The British-born actress received some flack from people who wanted to see an American performer play the part, but she assured fans, “I cannot tell how protective I am of this woman and her story.” However, despite the initial backlash, when the film opened, critics praised and Erivo for her portrayal of Tubman. 


But now, the Harriet star is making news for an entirely different reason. Rumors have been circulating that actress and screenwriter Lena Waithe may have cheated on her wife with Erivo. Waithe and her wife, Alana Mayo, recently split. Was it because of an affair?

RELATED: Meet Shayanna Jenkins — Aaron Hernandez's Fiancé In Spotlight After Shocking Netflix Documentary


Who is Cynthia Erivo? Read on to find out more about the Harriet star, and the rumors surrounding her relationship with Lena Waithe.

1. Who is Cynthia Erivo? She didn't always intend to become an actress. 

Erivo’s full name is Cynthia Chinasaokwu O. Erivo and she hails from Lambeth, England, though her parents emigrated there from Nigeria. She initially studied music psychology at the University of East London, but after a year, she auditioned for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts.



A post shared by cynthiaerivo (@cynthiaerivo) on Nov 16, 2018 at 7:48am PST

2. She started on Broadway before transitioning to acting. 

Erivo started working in theatre in London and spent several years doing plays and musicals in her hometown. In 2015, she crossed the Atlantic for her first role on Broadway, appearing in a revival of The Color Purple. That performance caught the attention of TV and film producers and she started getting cast in Hollywood productions. She appeared in a number of British shows, including Chewing Gum and Mr. Selfirdge. 


In 2017, she was cast in the American comedy Broad City and has gone on to appear films like Widows and Bad Times at the El Royal. In 2018, she announced that she had been cast as Harriet Tubman in an upcoming biopic about the legendary woman who escaped from slavery, and who then rescued 300 other people from enslavement in the American South.

3. Erivo is a Tony Award winner. 

Tubman isn’t the first iconic American character that Erivo has played. In 2016, she starred in the revival of the musical The Color Purple, playing Celie — first in London, then on Broadway. That character was first made famous in the book by Alice Walker.

When the book was adapted in 1985, Whoopi Goldberg won a Golden Globe for her unforgettable portrayal of Celie. In the 2016 revival of the musical, Eviro won the Tony Award for Best Actress In a Musical, beating out Hamilton star Philippa Soo.

RELATED: Meet Vanessa Hudgens' New Boyfriend, Kyle Kuzma — Plus All About Their Steamy New Relationship


4. She was cast as Harriet Tubman in 2018. 

In 2018, Focus Features announced it was doing the Harriet film about the life of Tubman and started casting the movie shortly thereafter. Erivo was selected to play Tubman and the rest of the cast included Leslie Odom Jr. and Joe Alwyn, along with Jennifer Nettles, Clarke Peters, and Janelle Monae. Kasi Lemmons wrote the screenplay with Gregory Allen Howard, and she also directed the project.

5. Erivo responded to the criticism she received for landing the role. 

Despite Erivo’s stellar acting credentials, some critics initially wondered if the role of Tubman should have gone to an American. Erivo was sensitive to that idea and penned a long Facebook post about it shortly after the casting annoucement:


“I struggled a little with whether or not to post anything about this role, because even though there is so much celebration and encouragement coming through, there’s also anger and offense spurred on by my being from the UK.....I guess there is a bigger conversation to be had about heritage and experience, also about who Harriet really was that cannot be had in an Instagram post, what I will say is that my journey to this woman has been long and detailed and one I have not taken lightly.” 

Nothing has been given to me without me first putting the work in, people speak of foreign privilege and truthfully life would be unbelievably easy if that were applied to me but that is not my portion. I fought for the role of Celie, and spilled blood sweat and tears playing her, the same applies for every role I’ve earned, this will be no different. I hope that I do everyone, even those who are in doubt or are upset, proud. I hope I quell your fears, because I understand that is what it is. I cannot tell how protective I am of this woman and her story.” 

She concluded by sharing her joy about earning the role, saying, “I posted this because I cannot allow people to make me neglect to celebrate this honor. This story has gone unnoted for long enough and @debramchase Daniela Taplin and @focusfeatures are the perfect home the beautiful way Kasi Lemmons has told this story is more than a blessing. I am glad to be given the opportunity to bring the life of Harriet Tubman to you.I would be lying if I didn’t make it clear that this is scary, and I thank you in advance for the support. Love you much. ALL OF YOU!”

6. She has a lot of upcoming work.

Now that Harriet has been released, Erivo’s agenda remains full. She has three other films and a TV show in production right now. Look for her in Chaos Walking and The Saviors in 2020. She'll also try her hand at producing a project in which she will star alongside Frozen star Josh Gad

7. Did Lena Waithe cheat on her wife with Erivo?

Actress Lena Waithe recently revealed that she would be separating from her wife, Alana Mayo. Although the two had only been married for a few months, they released a statement, explaining the separation: "After careful thought and consideration, we have decided to part ways. We have nothing but support for one another and ask that you respect our privacy during this time."


However, rumors suggest that the real reason for the couple's divorce may be because Waithe was cheating on Mayo with Erivo. Waithe and Erivo were reportedly seen kissing and holding hands at the 2020 Golden Globe Awards. 

But this was far from the first time that the two actresses had crossed paths. After the 2018 Met Gala, Erivo posted a photo with Waithe to her Instagram page, praising her and writing, "I finally found my sis. Lena you are absolutely everything. You are perfection. What a meeting of minds, glad to have you in my life! Stuck like glue !!! SHINE QUEEN SHINE!!" Waithe then replied to the comment saying, "I live for you! So glad our paths finally crossed, sis! Thanks for being the highlight of my night xoxo."

Waithe was also the one who presented Erivo with her Breakthrough Performance Award at the 31st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, and even spoke about her on the red carpet for the event, stating that she and Erivo were "vibing." 

RELATED: Meet Taylor Swift's Boyfriend, Joe Alwyn — Details About Their Private Relationship & If He Appears In Her New Documentary 'Miss Americana'


Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side.