Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Jennifer Hudson on living with grief after family tragedy

jenhudhero1.jpg
jenhud2.jpg

Jennifer Hudson has opened up about the shocking triple shooting that robbed her of her mother, brother and nephew in 2008.

"I have definitely seen the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows," the Grammy and Oscar-winning actress and singer told The Observer.

Hudson's mother, church secretary Darnell Donerson and brother, Jason Hudson, were shot dead inside the Chicago home they shared with the singer's older sister, Julia Hudson, in October 2008.

The body of Julia Hudson's seven-year-old son, Julian King, was found three days later, wrapped in a shower curtain in the back of a car on the other side of the city.

"You don’t know how strong you are until you are placed in that kind of moment," the Dreamgirls star said.

Jennifer Hudson with mother Darnell Donerson in 2006

Julia Hudson's estranged husband, William Balfour, was convicted of the murders and was sentenced to three consecutive life sentences in 2012.

"In many ways the trial was the most dreadful part of it all," the 32-year-old singer said. "But again I know my mother would not have wanted us to miss a beat, so we were there every day."

She Told The Observer she wrote Moan, a single on her upcoming album JHUD, in memory of her mother.

My momma taught me everything I know, and I will take it everywhere I go, if you think you've seen it all, just keep on living, live long," read the lyrics from the song.

"My mother always told me no matter how negative your life seems to be, you must always look for a positive," Hudson said. "That is what I believe a woman of faith should do."

She continues "Mom would always tell us if you are hurting, moan and you will feel better. That’s the title of the song.

"There is not a day that goes by when I don’t repeat the things she said. She was very quiet. The complete opposite of us kids. Now she has gone, I realise she had a lot to say. My brother, too, I hear him, too.

"When we were kids any time my brother saw me crying he would be like, ‘Jenny, knock it off.’ And that’s what I hear him say when I cry now.”

Speaking about her bond with her sister, Julia, Jennifer says “We have always been very close. She works with me now – although she doesn’t do all that much work!

"She bosses me around, she’s a tough cookie. We don’t live together or anything, she likes being Julia and I like being Jennifer, but she never stops being my big sister."

Discussing her stunning career path, as well as her significant physical transformation since she was a losing finalist on American Idol, she said of her early years in the dangerous Englewood neighbourhood, "It feels like another Jennifer life."

"I don't look the same … So many things have changed. I sometimes think the only constant is my voice.”

Related

supermodels.jpg

Beauty and skincare secrets shared by supermodels

primark-hero-1.jpg

Primark is forced to remove a mannequin with protruding ribs

2434-tp-00064br.jpg

Watch the full Fifty Shades of Grey trailer here

caulisteakart.jpg

How to eat healthy: 10 amazing recipes to sneak vegetables into your meals and snacks

hero.jpg

Celebrity fashion round-up: from Zoe Saldana to Rachel McAdams to Cheryl

who-hero.jpg

Doctor Who premiere to be screened in cinemas

More

The best A-list Instagrams from the week so far

From Reese Witherspoon’s vacation vibes to Cara Delevingne’s birthday getaway

by Nicola Colyer
16 Aug 2017

Paris Hilton defends Donald Trump from sexual assault allegations

“I think [the women] are just trying to get attention and get fame...”

by Moya Crockett
16 Aug 2017

The personality trait that Mindy Kaling hopes to pass on to her baby

Kaling gets real about motherhood as she confirms her pregnancy

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Aug 2017

Paris Hilton describes the emotional fallout of her 2001 sex tape

“I could not leave my house for months”

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017

Taylor Swift wins sexual assault case for “anyone who feels silenced”

“My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard”

by Amy Swales
15 Aug 2017

This is why you’ll never see Jennifer Aniston on social media

That account you’re following is a fake.

by Moya Crockett
15 Aug 2017

Oprah Winfrey patiently explains why she’ll never marry her boyfriend

Just in case anyone thought it was their business

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Aug 2017

Ryan Reynolds’ emotional tribute to woman killed on set of Deadpool 2

The death of Joi ‘SJ’ Harris has left him “heartbroken”

by Kayleigh Dray
15 Aug 2017

Billie Piper on feminism, fear and her first love

"I’m just afraid of all of it."

by Stylist
15 Aug 2017

Laura Dern shares some pretty solid life advice

“Write your own story”

by Nicola Colyer
14 Aug 2017