Looking back. Weeks before Regina King’s son, Ian Alexander Jr., died by suicide, the pair were elated to celebrate New Year’s Eve together with their family.
“One of the things that this past two years has kind of sat with me is inclusivity,” the Watchman star, 51, told Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper during a surprise appearance on CNN’s New Year’s Eve Live in December 2021. “With all we’ve been through the past few years [and] how different we all are, but the one thing that we all have in common is that we want to be seen. We all want to be included and we should be.”
Ian, who died days after his 26th birthday, and King’s “bonus son” sat beside the Oscar winner on her couch during the virtual interview, toasting the forthcoming year.
“Here we are with — OK, this is my son [and] my bonus son — 20 years we’re all together this whole family of people are together because of these two and their lives together that brought us together,” King introduced the young men. “And we kinda drink in the spirit of inclusivity, too, and progress.”
After making “eye contact,” the trio clinked their classes and sipped their glasses of tequila.
The mother-son twosome’s appearance aired a few weeks before the musician — who performed under the moniker Desduné — died by suicide.
“Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian,” King — who shared her only son with ex-husband Ian Alexander Sr. — told TODAY in a statement on Friday, January 21. “He is such a bright light who cared so deeply about the happiness of others. Our family asks for respectful consideration during this private time. Thank you.”
Ahead of his death, Ian had been candid about his mental health struggles.
“You know that episode of SpongeBob where they go inside his brain and it’s a bunch of mini spongebobs just losing their s—t … yea that one really hits home,” he tweeted earlier this month. “I don’t think Instagram is healthy for me.”
The “Work It Out” crooner long had a close bond with his mother, even getting matching tattoos.
“[Ian] said, let’s choose three [designs] each and not tell each other which ones they are and whichever one is matching, that’s the one we’re going to get tattooed — and we both chose unconditional love,” King recalled during a March 2017 appearance on The View.
In December 2015, the Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous actress previously opened up about their ink, telling Vulture that the Aramaic phrase they chose “really embodies how we feel about each other.”
Ian — who made a brief cameo in One Night in Miami, his mother’s directorial debut — never felt any pressure to follow in her famous footsteps, instead carving his own path.
“Being a personality is more of my thing. Being her son, I have to definitely be a personality,” the late California native told Flaunt magazine in May 2021. “If you’ve met my dad, he’s a huge personality as well. It wasn’t until recently that I’ve been interested in going in that [acting] route. Not going in that route as a career, but letting it be something fun I do. I love so many forms of artistry.”
He further gushed about King’s other talents and how that inspired him: “My mother and my great grandmother, even my grandmother are amazing chefs. They’re able to create things and cook with a lot of love. … My mother being who she is, I was able to travel a lot. Most of the times we’ve travelled, food was the biggest part. I remember eating a wide variety of foods for a long time. At 4 years old, I was eating sushi. I definitely liked to try things.”
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