Five months after Palmer gave birth to her son, Leodis, Jackson got backlash online for shaming his girlfriend for the outfit she wore to an Usher concert. Even after that criticism, Jackson defended his comments, saying that Palmer’s look went against his “standards and morals.”
While a source told ET the two had split following Jackson’s comments, a string of joint sightings of the new parents made fans question if they were back together.
The relationship uncertainty was settled in November when Palmer filed for — and was temporarily granted — sole custody of her son and a restraining order against Jackson, whom she accused of domestic violence. ET has reached out to Jackson for comment.
Keep reading for a full timeline of Palmer and Jackson’s relationship
“We met very casually at a party. Diddy was doing an Insecureafterparty with Issa Rae. I had just done the show and his brother worked on the show,” she said of Sarunas J. Jackson, who played Dro on the HBO series. “… I walked up to him. My best friend was like, ‘You should just say something to him. You should ask if he wants a drink.'”
She did just that, asking Jackson if he wanted to take a shot with her.
“Here’s the thing. He’s very fine. But he has that personality where it’s like, ‘Do you know you’re fine?'” she said. “When I walked up to him, I was not looking for love. I was looking for a roster, you understand? And so I was like, ‘He fits the physical bill.’ But when I talked to him… he was such a sweetheart. I think what I saw was he’s just a sweet guy.”
Three months later, Palmer went Instagram official with her romance when she shared a series of photos from her 28th birthday party, including some of her kissing Jackson.
“It’s the details for me. Nobody was on they phones, we had that before MySpace feeling… I’m so happy,” she captioned her post. “Awesome Birthday, so grateful.”
Palmer spoke publicly about her relationship for the first time in an interview with Bustle.
“I just think [this] was a moment in time in my life where I really stepped into this kind of boss behavior [of doing] whatever the hell I want to do,” she told the outlet of her decision to go public with Jackson. “This is the happiest I’ve ever felt with someone. So why would I go out of my way to hide this person? That’s a lot more work than just living in my life and being in my life. You know what I’m saying?”
A month after revealing that she and Jackson share custody of a cat named Jackie Brown, Palmer hosted Saturday Night Live. During her monologue, Palmer revealed that she was pregnant with her first child.
“I’m especially glad to be here, though, because there’s some rumors going around. People have been in my comments saying, ‘Keke’s having a baby, Keke’s pregnant,’ and I want to set the record straight — I am,” she declared while simultaneously pulling open her jacket and revealing her baby bump. “… This has been the biggest blessing. I’m going to be a mom!”
After the show, Palmer took to Instagram to gush about beginning her parenthood journey with Jackson.
“This year has taken me for a ride! And how cool, my baby and I are already doing it all together. Thank you God!” she wrote in part. “… And thank you to my other half @dvulton for giving me the things that only true unity can bring. Love is all we have isn’t it, you do nothing in this world alone and trust me, I am not alone! Very grateful.”
Months later, Palmer recalled how she first discovered she was pregnant.
“I took the test, and it came back negative. I didn’t have the lines on there, so I just threw it in the trash. I just threw it in the trash,” she said on her Baby This Is Keke Palmer podcast. “And so I go out… and all of a sudden, I get a text from Darius, and he says, ‘When did you take this?’ And it’s a picture of the pregnancy test and it’s positive… As soon as I come home, me and him, I do 10 of ’em back-to-back, back-to-back, to back, to back-to-back. All positive.”
“I felt the support of my partner during [pregnancy] in a way that’s not anything I have had before,” she said. “Ever since I met him, [he’s shown] a selflessness. Making sure that I’m not alone, making sure I have support. I think that’s all you can ask from anyone. And I’ve only ever really had that kind of support from my family — and it’s funny, because now we are family.”
“Born during Black History Month, with a name to match!” Palmer wrote on Instagram. “LEODIS ANDRELLTON JACKSON, welcome to the world baby Leo.”
In an interview with ET, Palmer opened up about her favorite part of seeing Jackson as a dad.
“I guess I don’t know what I would’ve expected, but I think he’s just so attentive,” Palmer said. “I guess that’s what you want all fathers to be. But it’s even more than I expected it. I just really am grateful to have such an amazing partner to do this with.”
“I think that is obviously why we had the kid together,” she continued. “I saw way before that he had the dedication, the patience and the discipline to be an amazing dad, and that’s why I wanted to have my baby with him.”
Palmer honored Jackson in a Father’s Day tribute on Instagram, calling him “the best dad ever!”
“Leodis and I are so very happy to have such a fun, kind, responsible, dependable and supportive man like you in our lives. It’s so wonderful to see the kind of loving father you are, but I’m not surprised,” she wrote. “You wanted to be a dad maybe more than I wanted to be a mother and that’s saying a lot, because I’ve ALWAYS wanted to be a mother. I love this for us, but I really love it for Leo! God bless you darling, thank you for being in our lives. WE LOVE YOU!”
Drama started between the couple when Palmer attended Usher’s Las Vegas residency show wearing a sheer black dress over a matching thong bodysuit.
Jackson seemingly shamed Palmer for wearing the sexy look when he reposted a video of Usher serenading the actress with his hit, “There Goes My Baby.”
“It’s the outfit tho.. you a mom,” Jackson wrote.
After receiving backlash for his comment, Jackson doubled down in a separate tweet, in which he said Palmer’s outfit went against the “standards and morals” he believes in.
“We live in a generation where a man of the family doesn’t want the wife & mother to his kids to showcase booty cheeks to please others & he gets told how much of a hater he is,” he tweeted. “This is my family & my representation. I have standards & morals to what I believe. I rest my case.”
Palmer appeared to address the situation for the first time July 7 on social media. On Instagram, Palmer posted a video of her singing a rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” to her and Jackson’s son.
“One thing is certain and one thing is true, IM A MOTHA, through and through!” Palmer captioned the post, before revealing that she’s now selling shirts that read “IM A MOTHA” and “Stevie to the bulls**t.”
“To all my mom’s out there, how did your baby change you??” Palmer questioned. “Mine empowered me! On such another level, my perspective changed because when my baby is good I’m GREAT! Look at that face! Gratitude galore.”
Palmer also posted a TikTok that showed her dancing to the sound, “You ain’t stopping what’s going on with me, sweetheart. So, if you about to act up, I’m ’bout to link up.”
Just over a month after Jackson shamed Palmer for her outfit, a source confirmed to ET that they officially split. “Keke and Darius called it quits shortly after he called her out on Twitter for her outfit at the Usher concert. Keke is focusing on her work and her 6-month-old son,” a source told ET at the time. “The actor and Darius have been co-parenting, but for now, they aren’t together.” Palmer also appeared in Usher’s music video for “Boyfriend,” seemingly referencing the spat when she says with a wink, “I’m so tired… Now I’m a mother after all.”
However, less than two weeks after the news of their breakup emerged, Palmer and Jackson appeared on Instagram Live together, seemingly while enjoying a meal together for her 30th birthday. “D, thank you for taking me out on my birthday as always,” Palmer said. They also went to Beyoncé’s Renaissance concert together.
“Are y’all together?” was the question on Jenna Bush Hager’s lips when Palmer appeared on Today in September. The new mom’s response? “I’m going to take a page out of my girl Beyoncé’s book. Mind y’alls business.”
Palmer made headlines on Nov. 9 when she requested a temporary restraining order against Jackson, as well as for sole custody of their son, after claiming she was the victim of his abuse over the course of their relationship, according to court docs obtained by ET.
Shortly after news of Palmer’s legal filing broke, Jackson took to X (formerly Twitter) and posted a photo of him holding his son. He also tweeted, “I love you, son. See you soon.”
ET has reached out to Palmer and Jackson for comment.
In the docs, Palmer claimed that she and Jackson ended their relationship in October after “many instances of physical violence.” Most recently, Palmer alleged that Jackson “trespassed into my home without my knowledge or consent” on Nov. 5, “lunging for my neck, striking me, throwing me over the couch and stealing my phone.”
Palmer also points to an alleged incident captured on camera back on February 2022, when she claimed Jackson grabbed her by the neck and body slammed her onto the stairs. Palmer further highlighted a September 2023 incident where Jackson allegedly became physically rough with their crying son.
Throughout their relationship, Palmer claimed that Jackson destroyed her “personal property, including diaries and prescription eyeglasses, throwing my belongings into the street, throwing my car keys to prevent me from driving away” and “hitting [me] in front of our son.”
She further alleged that he would spew profanities at her and that Jackson threatened “to kill himself with a gun if I left him.” Palmer alleged that the abuse in their relationship was not solely physical but also emotional and manipulative.
“So much of Darius’ abuse towards me throughout our relationship was based on his insecurity and jealousy,” the docs read.
One day after Palmer filed the court docs, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge granted her temporary sole custody of Leodis and a temporary restraining order against Jackson. The court has also prohibited Jackson from having visitation rights with the child during this period.
The court has also prohibited Jackson from having visitation rights with the child during this period.