Niecy Nash, Jessica Betts make ‘herstory’ as first same-sex Essence cover couple

Two women pose for cameras against a blue background.
Newlyweds musician Jessica Betts, left, and actor Niecy Nash attend an event in New York in late 2021.
(Evan Agostini / Invision/Associated Press)
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“Claws” star Niecy Nash and musician Jessica Betts just made Essence history as the first same-sex couple to grace the cover of the magazine.

“Making H E R S T O R Y,” Nash, 54, wrote Thursday, sharing several images from their intimate photo shoot on Instagram. “Thank you @essence for choosing The Betts as your FIRST same sex couple to cover you magazine! #BettsOfWorlds #MakingHistory #Herstory #BlackHistoryMonth”

In another post featuring them kissing, the couple added: “Our prayer is that we contribute to normalizing loving who you love out loud! We hope you find your voice and stand in your truth…. knowing that you were designed by the creator -who makes no mistakes! Your beauty and your superpower is that you are uniquely YOU! Thank you @essence for your fearlessness with having us on your HERSTORY making cover! ‘Betts’ believe we are just getting started baby!”


Posing in a nude embrace on Essence’s cover, the newlyweds also dote on each other — no holds barred — inside the March/April issue of the glossy publication.

Actress Niecy Nash recently married singer Jessica Betts but says her marriage wasn’t a “coming out” as much as it was “being honest about who I love.”

Sept. 9, 2020

“We always lead with our truth,” said Nash (née Carol Denise Ensley), who has since added Betts’ last name to her own legally but not professionally. “Wherever it lands, we know it’s as it should be, because there is no failure in the truth.”

The “When They See Us” star shocked many — and said she didn’t expect to “break the internet” — when she and Betts simultaneously uploaded their surprise wedding photo on Instagram in August 2020.

Few knew they were dating, let alone that Nash was in a same-sex relationship. And only their family and closest friends knew they had wed in an intimate backyard ceremony in Ventura County two days earlier.

They told the mag that they guessed their union might be surprising because Nash, who still uses her first ex-husband’s surname professionally, had been married to men twice before. She officially divorced her second husband eight months before marrying Betts, a soul musician who plays guitar and first crossed paths with Nash on Instagram when the actor started following her. The couple told the mag that nothing about their relationship went according to plan.


“The least of my attraction is gender,” said the “Never Have I Ever” star, who, like Betts, doesn’t believe in labeling her sexuality. “What I was and am still attracted to is Jessica’s soul. 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.”

“Claws” star Niecy Nash announced Monday that she married singer-songwriter Jessica Betts, a few months after Nash’s divorce from husband Jay Tucker.

Aug. 31, 2020

Their PDA isn’t showcased only on the cover of Essence but all over their social media pages. Nash and Betts told writer Demetria L. Lucas that they are madly in love and want the world to know and there’s no “agenda” about it.

“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 Bettses’ Essence cover will appear on newsstands March 1.