“It’s Always There” — Jennifer Hudson Opens Up About Family Murders

Jennifer Hudson

In 2008, news broke that singer Jennifer Hudson’s (Dreamgirls) mother, brother and nephew had been murdered by her sister’s estranged husband.

Hudson’s mother Darnell Donnerson, 57 and brother Jason, 29, were shot inside their Chicago home, and a few days later, her nephew Julian King, seven, was also found dead.

Now, eleven years later and ahead of her new role as Grizabella in Cats, a 38-year-old Hudson sat down with The Guardian, and opened up about how she has coped since the tragedy occurred.

“Thank God,” she said.

“I think I attribute that first to God, next to (the fact that) when you experience trauma, it comes and goes. It’s always there. But it’s a matter of how you deal with it,” she told the outlet.

Hudson was adamant that she honoured the lives of those she had lost by “doing what they would have wanted me to do. It would be worse, to me, not to press forward,” she said.

The American Idol alum also went on to say that in some ways, her mum “prepared us” for her death.

“She would say, ‘You know, I’m not always going to be here and I want you all to be able to make it.’ She used to say, without family, you have nothing, which is why it’s so important to take care of family.”

Hudson has set up a foundation in memory of her nephew called the Julian D King Gift Foundation — and attributes it to him being “strong and very smart”.

The foundation provides underprivileged children with school supplies, and assists them during the holiday season. The main events occur in their hometown of Chicago, with fundraising efforts across the US.

“So to live in a way that honours them is what presses you forward. Not to mention, thank God, that I have a child to live for.”

“Of course you still get sad,” she says. “That’s what I go back to: what would my mother say? What would she do?”

In 2012, Balfour was sentenced to three life sentences and will spend the rest of his life in prison.