There weren't many dry eyes left in Nokia Theatre after Jennifer Hudson accepted one of the biggest awards of the evening at the 2014 People's Choice Awards. After receiving the award for Favorite Humanitarian on Jan. 8, the powerhouse singer broke down in tears while discussing the foundation she began following the murders of her mother, brother and nephew in October 2008.
"I have to start off saying the same thing I said when I won my Oscar -- look what God can do!" Hudson, 32, said to the standing audience. "This all started, like I said, back home in our church where we grew up. My mother always taught us that without family you have nothing, and whether you know it or not all are family, and what happens to the other happens to us, so it's very important to make a difference."
In 2008, Hudson's 57-year-old mother Darnell Donerson, 29-year-old brother Jason Hudson and 7-year-old nephew Julian King were murdered in Chicago by her older sister Julia Hudson's estranged husband William Balfour. In May 2011, Balfour was found guilty on three counts of first-degree murder. During the People's Choice award show, the Oscar winner invited Julia up to the stage with her. (Julia also wore a heart necklace with her son's picture in it during the event.)
"We're all so quick to say we can't or 'Oh, it happened to them, but it will never happen to me.' Yes, I am a witness. It can all happen to us all," Hudson continued. "Its one thing to be a celebrity and have power -- but it means nothing if we're not making a difference with helping someone else and trying to change a life."
Soon after her family tragedy, both sisters started the Julian D. King Gift Foundation. It was established to "provide stability, support and positive experiences for children of all backgrounds," the site reads. And "to help enable them to grow to be productive, confident and happy adults."