Jennifer Hudson Finally Opens Up About Family Tragedy

Understandably, singer Jennifer Hudson has rarely commented about the tragic events of October 2008, when her mother, brother and nephew were all gunned down by her ex-brother-in-law, William Balfour. But the Dreamgirls star must finally feel ready to open up, as she spoke frankly with UK newspaper The Guardian, explaining how the devastating incident changed her life forever:

“You don’t know how strong you are until you are placed in that kind of moment.’ the singer explained, ‘If I close my eyes, I can almost remember what it was like, what I was like, 15 years ago. I was at home in Chicago, still in high school, singing in church, living with my family…it feels like another Jennifer life. I don’t look the same. I’m a mother now. So many things have changed. I sometimes think the only constant is my voice. That hasn’t gone away.” “I have definitely seen the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows. You don’t know how strong you are until you are placed in that kind of moment.”

Although Jennifer received some sort of justice when her former brother-in-law, William Balfour, received three life sentences for the murders in July 2012, there is still a way to go before she could truly begin to heal from the unimaginable heartbreak of losing several close family members at one time. The star admitted that her strong faith was one of the most important ways of dealing with the pain: “It was the ultimate help to me. We always said, ‘If He brings you to it, He will bring you through it.’ There would be no point in faith if it wasn’t tested. My mother always told me no matter how negative your life seems to be, you must always look for a positive. That is what I believe a woman of faith should do.”

Another coping method Jennifer says she helped her deal with her loss, is philanthropy—specifically, setting up a charity in her nephew’s name: “That is where the Julian D King Foundation came from. I was thinking how could I find something in all this that would make my mother proud of me. My sister and I lost three family members and we both wanted to find a way that we would not dread every birthday and holiday and family occasion again. I wanted my sister to celebrate Julian’s birthday again, so we created Hatch Day, where we go around together giving local schools supplies that they need. And she looks forward to shopping for that, like she used to look forward to shopping for his birthday presents. My nephew was super into education – he used to call himself Dr King. She can pour his blessings on to these kids and keep his memory alive.”

In her latest album, Jennifer has dedicated the melodic “Moan” to her mother and says that even though they may have passed on, her family members still help her to stay positive to this day: “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.”

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