Niecy Nash, wife Jessica Betts are 'making herstory' as first queer couple on Essence cover

Niecy Nash and wife Jessica Betts’ love is breaking down barriers, as the couple becomes the first same-sex couple to grace the cover of Essence magazine.

Nash shared the cover for the magazine’s March/April 2022 "Black Women in Hollywood" issue on Instagram Thursday, which shows the “Claws” star and her wife in a tender embrace.

“Making H E R S T O R Y,” Nash captioned the post. “Thank you @essence for choosing The Betts as your FIRST same sex couple to cover (your) magazine!”

Many of Nash’s famous friends, including Taraji P. Henson and Ava DuVernay, flooded the comments section with messages of support.


“Gorgeous,” La La Anthony wrote.

“WOW,” Mindy Kaling commented.

“Exceptional. Exquisite. Everything!” DuVernay wrote.

Nash, who announced her marriage to Betts in a surprise Instagram post in August 2020, told Essence the public’s initial reaction to her same-sex union caught her off guard.

“A lot of people thought it was like a movie or some promo,” Nash said. “They started calling everybody, and we were like, ‘This is insane.’ I never knew why where you lay your head is such a big deal to other people. I was like, ‘People care?’ ”

Niecy Nash says marrying Jessica Betts wasn't a 'coming out,' but a 'going into myself'

According to the actress, she and Betts first connected on social media back in 2015, when Nash was “happily married” to Jay Tucker. Nash and Tucker announced their separation in a joint statement in October 2019, and their divorce was finalized in March 2020. The actress was also married to minister Don Nash from 1994 to 2007.

In another Instagram post Thursday, Nash shared the virtual Essence cover, which featured a series of affectionate clips of herself and Betts from the cover shoot.

"What I was and am still attracted to is Jessica’s soul," Nash captioned the post, quoting herself from the Essence interview. "She was the most beautiful soul I had ever met in my life. Now that I’ve experienced it, I can’t imagine going through life without it."

Betts told Essence the motivation behind her and her wife's “social media PDAs” has more to do with providing genuine representation, rather than spearheading social commentary. “Agendas feel very forced,” Betts said. “If there’s an agenda, it’s that we’re going to spread queer joy. The world needs it. Real talk.”

The two also spoke about their compatibility as a couple.

“We’re extremely compatible,” Niecy said. “Sometimes you can be attracted to somebody but don’t have a lot in common. But we have such a natural compatibility that we can be around each other, work together and hang out all day. If there was a 25th hour, we would be right up in it.”

“And not get tired of each other,” Betts added.

Jessica Betts and Niecy Nash attend The 15th Annual CNN Heroes: All-Star Tribute at American Museum of Natural History on Dec. 12, 2021, in New York City.
Jessica Betts and Niecy Nash attend The 15th Annual CNN Heroes: All-Star Tribute at American Museum of Natural History on Dec. 12, 2021, in New York City.

Nash has previously said she and Betts started off as friends and that she did not initially view the singer as someone she would date. “I loved her before I was in love with her because she is such a special human being,” Nash told People in September 2020.

“But we began to see each other in a way we never had before," Nash continued. "Sometimes you get so broken by love, you run from it. But I’ve learned that you should always hold space for magic, because it can happen at any time.”

Though her marriage to Betts came as a surprise to many of Nash's fans, “I was not suppressing my sexuality my whole life,” Nash told People.

“I've done everything I wanted to do on my own terms and my own way,” she added. “So, my choice now in a partner has nothing to do with who I've always been. It's a matter of who I am in this moment.”

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Contributing: Charles Trepany

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Niecy Nash, wife become first same-sex couple on Essence cover