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What Happened To CJ On House Of Payne?

When Allen Payne made his debut on Tyler Perry's "House of Payne" in 2006, he was no stranger to the entertainment industry. Previously, Payne played a number of standout roles (via IMDb), including Lance Rodman in later seasons of "The Cosby Show" and Jason Alexander in 1994's "Jason's Lyric," which chronicles the life of a TV salesman who dreams of escaping his violent, drug-ridden neighborhood in Houston, Texas.

However, Payne's biggest claim to fame is his portrayal of CJ on Perry's sitcom, which aired on TBS until 2012 before its revival on BET in 2020. CJ is the nephew of the show's leading man Curtis Payne (LaVan Davis), with whom his life becomes blended after his home is destroyed in a fire. CJ, his wife Janine (Demetria McKinney), and their four children are taken in by his uncle and aunt Ella (Cassi Davis). Throughout the series, CJ experiences much pain as he's forced to deal with his wife's drug addiction, in addition to the realization that he was adopted and is actually biracial. He also enjoys happiness and success while following in Curtis' footsteps at the helm of the fire department.

Currently, "House of Payne" boasts 11 seasons, the most recent of which wrapped up in May 2022. There was also the spinoff "The Paynes," which aired for two seasons in 2018 and features Payne as CJ on three episodes.

Beyond his iconic role in Perry's project, let's take a look at what Payne has been up to.

Allen Payne is still acting in a limited capacity

There was a point in Payne's life when he needed to take a break from Hollywood, which is why his credits are nonexistent in the years that followed the original run of "House of Payne." He told BlackDoctor.org, "After my mother died, I stepped away from acting. I chose to look inward and find myself, and I think that's important when you're an actor. You spend so much time trying to work and being interpreted by fans, executives and people in Hollywood, that you can lose a sense of yourself. You've got to get back to that."

And Payne definitely did. After making a three-episode cameo as CJ in "The Paynes," he starred alongside Christa B. Allen in the 2021 Lifetime drama "The Fight That Never Ends." The film is based on the true story of Joanne Beck, a Jewish woman who unwittingly falls for gang leader John "Jay" Hunter (Robert Ri'chard), who she encounters while volunteering at a community help center. Payne portrays Joanne's boss, Leon Watkins, who urges her not to get involved.

The actor also returned to "House of Payne" for its BET revival to continue the story of CJ, Curtis, and the rest of the family. At this point, it's unclear if or when a 12th season is set to air. Regardless, Payne has a very specific goal regarding his acting career moving forward, as he told BlackDoctor.org, "I'm going to do my part and just try to leave a legacy of a brother who worked hard, who understood who he was and spend a lot of time trying to help others reach that same point in their lives," the actor said.

Rumors swirled that Allen Payne died in 2021

Countless fans took to social media in November 2021 to grieve the alleged loss of Allen Payne at the age of 53. According to The Sun, Stars News first broke the "news" of Payne's passing on YouTube with the video "R.I.P Its With Heavy Hearts We Report Sad Death Of 'House of Payne' Star Allen Payne Beloved One." Though his "House of Payne" character gets into an accident and is forced to wear a neck brace, the actor himself is still alive and well.

The Stars News channel received its share of flak for making such an inaccurate claim. In the comments, GeeMail said, "Lawsuits should be filed for bogus reports like this." SandraBrown wrote, "Allen Payne is very much alive that isn't nice the way people lie about death." A third YouTube user, PHil, commented, "How does one play with death like this? With commentary and EVERYTHING!?! WHAT?!" bwneyez78 added, "This is so screwed up to make a lie that someone is dead when they really aren't. I wish that the author of this story has the same prank done to her and everyone else involved in making this video. Shame upon you."

Given Payne's extremely low profile in the industry and his lack of presence on social media, the report was believable at first, but only for a short time. Not only was there no official report of his death, but his starring role on 2022's "House of Payne" also speaks for itself.

He takes his health and faith very seriously

Allen Payne recently revealed (via BlackDoctor.org) that several members of his family have suffered from chronic diseases over the years. Fear of following in their footsteps led him to take control of his health upon moving from his hometown of Harlem, New York, to California to pursue his acting career. "First I was a pescatarian then a vegetarian," Payne reflected. "And then I even was a raw vegan for a while. Then I developed healing habits."

He's proud of himself for taking early, proactive steps to try and avoid the fate of his loved ones. "We can go to them [hospitals] in emergencies, but life becomes so much more fulfilling when God puts the power in your hands," said Payne. "Once you gain the knowledge and awareness of what it is, then you take on the responsibility. And not only will your body blossom, but your mind does as well."

Not only does Payne credit his faith for his good health; he also credits being "connected to The Creator" for his decades of success in the industry, something he said not many Black actors achieve. "It's actually very few," he explained. "In order to do it you not only have to be very talented, you gotta be really lucky and you have to be diligent and just really blessed and feel like every opportunity to work is a new opportunity."

Whether it's a forthcoming season of "House of Payne" or another eye-opening film, fans can't wait to see what's next for Payne.