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Keke Palmer Says ‘It Became Primal’ to Make Sure Son Leo Was in ‘The Best Environment’ (Exclusive)

Keke Palmer opened up about “all the changes” she’s experienced since welcoming her son, Leodis “Leo” Andrellton Jackson, last year.

“I became fiercely protective, which I think is good and natural, but it’s like an overwhelming feeling to be that protective,” Palmer, 30, exclusively told Us Weekly while discussing her partnership with Chips Ahoy! “It became primal for me to make sure that my son was in the best environment and that I felt that I could be my best self to make sure that I could show up for him.”

Palmer added that this mindset was a positive one because she “made a lot of difficult choices” and “a lot of important changes” to her life.

“I don’t think I would’ve been that strong to do [that] without having my son, in every aspect of my life, even the way that I deal with my career, it became so much more easy to be like, ‘Yes, no, this, that’ in a way that I don’t know that I always have before,” she told Us.

Keke Palmer and Boyfriend Darius Jackson Relationship Timeline

Related: Keke Palmer and Darius Jackson’s Relationship Timeline

Palmer welcomed Leo with ex-boyfriend Darius Jackson in February 2023. “Born during Black History Month, with a name to match 😄!” she wrote via Instagram at the time. “LEODIS ANDRELLTON JACKSON, welcome to the world baby Leo.”

Less than one year after the birth of their first child, Palmer and Jackson split in October 2023. She’s since requested a temporary restraining order after she alleged Jackson physically abused her “multiple times” throughout their relationship, and filed for temporary sole custody of their son. Her request was granted in November 2023, along with the temporary restraining order.

Keke Palmer Says It Became Primal to Make Sure Son Was in The Best Environment
Courtesy of Keke Palmer/Instagram

The next month, Jackson filed his own court docs responding to her allegations and claimed she was the “primary aggressor” in their relationship. Palmer’s restraining order was extended by six months after they agreed to postpone a planned hearing in January 2024. The new court date is set for July.

Amid her ongoing legal battle with Jackson, she’s been focused on motherhood and Leo. “I remember somebody saying that once you become a mom, you kind of go insane a little bit and you don’t come back. I do feel like that happened to me because I’m not playing about my child,” she told Us.

Keke Palmer's Dating History

Related: Keke Palmer's Dating History

Between raising her son and balancing her career, Palmer has also teamed up with Chips Ahoy! to announce the brand’s new recipe with the new MMMmproved Chips Ahoy! Cookie.

“It’s still going to have that taste you love, but it’s just improved, better crunch, texture, taste, and a really fabulous box,” Palmer told Us. “But the most exciting part about this to me, outside of the obvious, is the sweepstakes.”

One lucky winner and their three friends will have a weekend “re-treat” at a luxury Malibu beach house inspired by the Chips Ahoy! Cookies. Fans of Chips Ahoy! can enter the Chips Ahoy! MMMProved Getaway Sweepstakes for a chance to win by following Chips Ahoy! Cookies on Instagram or Facebook, commenting on the pinned post on the brand’s Instagram feed and Facebook page.

“I’m really excited. We’re going to have some people get the opportunity to go to Malibu, have a little getaway,” Palmer said. “That’s always fun when you’re introducing something but also giving something.”

With reporting by Christina Garibaldi

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