Lupita Nyong'o and Selema Masekela's Relationship Timeline

The couple suddenly broke up amid Nyong'o posting about "love extinguished by deception."

selfie of Lupita Nyongo and Selema Masekela
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Lupita Nyong'o has always been very private about her personal life, so fans were surprised when she revealed her relationship with Selema Masekela last December. The couple announced their romance with matching Instagram posts, and while they did not share how long they had been dating, they seemed so in love and totally in sync in the sweet reveal. The Academy Award winner and the TV personality also had an adorable backstory, with Masekela revealing his crush on the actress years prior.

However, the Black Panther star revealed in October 2023 that Nyong'o and Masekela have gone their separate ways, in an emotional and cryptic post hinting at a "deception." We may never learned what caused the split, as both the celebrities may choose to keep the news private, but several glimpses of their romance have emerged over the past year. Here's everything we know about their relationship.

They met on a flight in 2016.

Masekela is a sports commentator, musician, and entrepreneur who owns the surf lifestyle brand Mami Wata and is best known as the son of anti-apartheid activist and "father of South African jazz" Hugh Masekela. A deep dive into Selema's social media shows that he and Nyong'o first met in April 2016. In an adorable post on X/Twitter, Masekela wrote that he was sitting behind the actress on a flight, and psyching himself up to talk to her.

"Hypothetically speaking of course...let's say you're seated behind Lupita Nyong'o on an airplane, what would be your opening line," he wrote at the time, adding a couple of minutes later, "Anyone comes up with a good opener for me with Lupita Nyong'o, send em. Cause I'm really sittin' right behind her on this flight. #stumped."

screenshot from selema masekela twitter post

(Image credit: Selema Masekela/Twiiter)

They became Instagram official last December.

In December 2022, the couple made their relationship public in since-deleted matching Instagram posts, which included a reel of the pair modeling into several matching and coordinating outfits, while snapping their fingers side by side to the beat of "The King's Affirmation" by Iniko and Reuel Williams. At the end of the clip, where they posed in swimsuits, fluffy robes, and red-carpet looks, they briefly broke into dancing.

"We just click! 💘 @selema #thisismylove #nuffsaid," Nyong'o captioned her post, while Masekela tagged her in his, writing, "Hearts are synched. My whole and actual love."

selfie of Lupita Nyongo and Selema Masekela

(Image credit: Lupita Nyong'o/Instagram)

They purchased a Los Angeles home together.

Soon after Nyong'o and Masekela went public, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the couple had purchased a house together in a remote Los Angeles neighborhood. The pair reportedly paid $4 million for the sprawling four-bedroom, five-bath home.

Lupita posted a loving message for Selema's birthday.

In another since-deleted post, the actress marked Masekela's birthday last August with another adorable Instagram reel, per People. In this post, which was soundtracked by the Yung Wylin' song "Good Energy," a series of short clips showed Masekela dancing in a variety of situations, followed by two photos of the couple.

"And THEN... the Universe saw it fit to bring this Sunshine Human ☀️ into my orbit, and this day marks his introduction to life," she wrote in the caption. Every day is full of #goodenergy and reasons to dance with @selema as my favorite playmate. Happy Birthday, mi amor!"

The musician replied in a comment, writing, "sneaky, mi amor. luckiest man alive. my heart is smiling wide."

Lupita announced the split this October, with a lengthy Instagram caption on "deception."

On October 19, Nyong'o announced her split from the entrepreneur, sharing a lengthy message to her fans via several text slides shared in an Instagram post and in her Stories. The actress began the post by acknowledging that "there are much more important things going on in the world right now, and my thoughts are with those who are deeply suffering."

"At this moment, it is necessary for me to share a personal truth and publicly dissociate myself from someone I can no longer trust," the Oscar winner wrote. "I find myself in a season of heartbreak because of a love suddenly and devastatingly extinguished by deception."

Later in the message, she writes that she revealed the personal news "to keep it [one hundred], and hoping that the knowledge of my experience might be useful to someone else out there experiencing the grip of heartbreak who is poised to try and escape from the pain and miss out on the wisdom that comes from it.  #Breakup."

Masekela has yet to speak publicly on the split.

A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o

A photo posted by lupitanyongo on

Contributing Culture Editor

Quinci is a Contributing Culture Editor who writes pieces and helps to strategize editorial content across TV, movies, music, theater, and pop culture. She contributes interviews with talent, as well as SEO content, features, and trend stories. She fell in love with storytelling at a young age, and eventually discovered her love for cultural criticism and amplifying awareness for underrepresented storytellers across the arts. She previously served as a weekend editor for Harper’s Bazaar, where she covered breaking news and live events for the brand’s website, and helped run the brand’s social media platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Her freelance writing has also appeared in outlets including HuffPost, The A.V. Club, Elle, Vulture, Salon, Teen Vogue, and others. Quinci earned her degree in English and Psychology from The University of New Mexico. She was a 2021 Eugene O’Neill Critics Institute fellow, and she is a member of the Television Critics Association. She is currently based in her hometown of Los Angeles. When she isn't writing or checking Twitter way too often, you can find her studying Korean while watching the latest K-drama, recommending her favorite shows and films to family and friends, or giving a concert performance while sitting in L.A. traffic.