'Empire' Introduces Alfre Woodard as Cookie's Mom

Empire just added a fan-favorite actress to its all-star cast.

With big names like Forrest Whitaker and Rumer Willis already giving their star power to the Fox hit drama, Empire raised the bar during Wednesday's all new episode by introducing Alfre Woodard as Cookie's estranged mother.

Through flashback, viewers find out that Cookie (Taraji P. Henson) refuses to see her mother Renee, who has come along with her sister to visit her while in her time in prison.

At first she avoids her mother, but later the pair reunite for a turbulent conversation in the prison's visiting area.

"So, you gotta get locked up before I can see you huh?" Renee says.

"I don't have nothing to say to you lady," Cookie says.

"Alright, I'll do the talking," Renee continues. "I'm in a place where I never expected to see you. Of my three girls, you most remind me of myself."

"Why are you even here?"

"Because if I was there with you girl you would not be in here."

Later Cookie confronts her mother about leaving her family when she was a child, sending fans in a frenzy.

"You ain't even got a ring," signaling to her mother's hand. "So, you waked out on us for some zero that's going to eventually dump your ass anyway... Guess it beats being a mother, and a wife."

Renee expresses her concern about Cookie leaving Lucious (Terrence Howard) to raise her kids while she's in prison, but Cookie shuts her down.

"You don't get to be my mother. You know what? Don't come back here again. I don't ever want to see you again," Cookie says as she walks away.

Cookie has been having a hard time since Empire returned from its winter hiatus, as the character suffered a heart attack and has been remembering her time locked up and how it shaped her to become the woman she is today.

According to Deadline, Woodard is set for a recurring role as Renee, and we'll be seeing her again in next week's episode.

Her work as an actor has earned her an Academy Award nomination, four Emmy Awards and 17 Emmy nominations, three Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Golden Globe.

Her body of work includes Martin Ritt's Cross Creek; the cable film Mandela, for which she was honored with an ACE award for her portrayal of Winnie Mandela; and Lawrence Kasdan's Grand Canyon, among other projects.

Most recently the actress appeared in Steve McQueen's 12 Years A Slave, Marvel's Captain America: Civil War and in the horror movie, Annabelle.


She is also set to play Sarabi in the upcoming The Lion King remake.

Empire airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on Fox.