Jennifer Hudson: My Son “Saved My Life” After the Murder of My Mom, Brother, and Nephew

Jennifer Hudson's son saved her
Jennifer Hudson opened up about her family's tragic 2008 murders, noting that having her son, David Jr., in 2009 "saved" her. Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Always counting her blessings. Jennifer Hudson has lived through extreme tragedy in the public eye, but the American Idol alum revealed in the November issue of Glamour magazine that her resilience has a potent source: her son.

In 2008, the 34-year-old singer lost her mother, her brother, and her nephew after her sister’s estranged husband shot them in a brutal murder — a topic she rarely talks about now, except in a healing light.

“I went from being an aunt, having a mom, and being a child to not having a mom, becoming a mom, and raising my own child,” she told the magazine. “I tell [my son] David [now 6] all the time, ‘You saved my life.’”

Hudson and her fiancé, WWE star David Otunga, welcomed their first child together, David Jr., in August 2009.

Jennifer Hudson and son
Jason Kempin/Getty Images

The Oscar and Grammy winner further explained that part of the reason why it’s been so difficult to open up about the tragedy is because she can’t quite connect with those who haven’t faced that kind of devastation.

“It’s frustrating as hell to me to have somebody who ain’t lost nothing try to talk to me about it,” she said. “I want to say, ‘Don’t even bother, because you know nothing.’ But you never know how much you can get through until you’re going through it.”

For her next role, in Spike Lee’s black comedy Chiraq, however, Hudson came face-to-face with other women who have suffered similar losses — and it was a powerful experience.

In the film, Hudson plays Irene, a woman whose daughter is killed by a stray bullet while they’re walking to school.

“There’s a scene where we’re all holding up boards with [photos of] our slain children on them,” Hudson recalled. “I turned around, and it’s a sea of real women [as extras] holding pictures of children they actually lost. I’m a character holding a picture of a little girl, but in real life I have the same story.”

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