Andre Lyon is a character in the television series Empire. He is the eldest son of Lucious and Cookie Lyon, and CFO of Empire Entertainment. A graduate of Wharton Business School, Andre oversees the financial aspects of Empire, working alongside his father to ensure the company’s fiscal strength. He is portrayed by actor Trai Byers, and he appears in Pilot.
Andre is the oldest and most educated of the three Lyon sons. He has shown signs of his advanced intelligence and cunning from an early age. When he was a child, he was playing with a pile of Lego while singing along with his father, right before the police raided their house. Seeing his father put his gun in an obvious hiding place, Andre took the gun and hid it under his Lego pile before the police arrived.
Many years later, before the Empire Entertainment label garnered success, he graduated from the Wharton Business School. While a student, he met and eventually dated Rhonda Lyon, who would later become his wife. It is revealed in “The Outspoken King” that he has bipolar disorder, but is more focused on gaining control of Empire and thus disregards his mental health.
He is very jealous of the talent and attention his younger brothers receive, even though he gets Empire through so much things. If it wasn’t for him, there would not be an IPO and Empire would not have gone through going public so well. Andre has achieved many for Empire and his father, but Lucious does not see the conqueror in Andre.
Andre first appears as the highly educated son of the Lyon family; he believes that he is the most qualified to inherit the Empire Entertainment company because of his education and financial aspects. Therefore, in order to impress his father and win the spot, Andre’s wife, Rhonda, encourages him to use manipulation to jeopardize his family. At firsthand, Andre attempts to convince his mother, Cookie, to manage Jamal and his music career, mostly to create friction between Jamal and Hakeem, who is managed by Lucious.
Andre is very intelligent. He uses his intelligence and manipulation in order to keep Empire up and running. He is a very good businessman. Andre has shown to be good at fighting. This is shown when he managed to hold his own against Vernon but was overpowered quickly.
Andre is brilliant, manipulative, devious, and determined to get Empire Enterprises at any cost. He is pushed to the side by his father due to his lack of musical ability and tries to make it up by winning his father’s favor. Andre has a high opinion of himself, as he believes that he is the most qualified heir to the company through a business perspective, using the help of his equally-cunning wife to tear his family apart so that he is the last one left standing to inherit it.
Due to his mental illness, Andre sometimes behaves in stark contrast to his usual calm demeanor. During a possible manic episode in “The Outspoken King“, he becomes very sexual with Deputy Mayor Alvarez in order to obtain information about Bunkie’s murder case. Later, he reenacts the encounter with Rhonda. In “Out, Damned Spot“, a while after Vernon Turner put Andre in a choke hold to force him to confess about him covering up for his dad, Andre threatens to slit his throat, only for Turner to coolly remind him to take his medication.
Andre and Rhonda met during a first year mixer at Wharton, when she was seeing someone snobby; however, Andre deduced she was just dating him to make it in the world and that was in act, and they eventually dated and got married. They are often shown throughout the series engaging in foreplay, and are suggested to have a very sexual relationship. They are a married couple, but have been shown to both commit adultery multiple times. However, they both seem knowledgeable about each others cheating, and encourage one another to go through with it if it means that it will help them gain control of the Empire. At one point, in,”The Lyon’s Roar“, Andre refers to their various affairs as a “game”. Rhonda seems alright with it at first, but when Andre asks her to have sex with an elderly man in a wheelchair, she expresses her dislike for the “game”.
Though they may have their issues, Rhonda seems to show concern for Andre’s well being. She comforts him often during his bipolar episodes, and reminds him to take his medicine. She offers him advice, and cooperates with him to take over control of the Empire.
Lucious does not really approve of their relationship and believes that White people will never accept Andre.