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Regina King Reflects On Grief and Loss After Her Son’s Death: ‘The Sadness Will Never Go Away.’

The pain of losing a child is an experience that no parent wants to go through — and actress Regina King is now ready to speak about her experience with grief two years after her son’s passing.

In her first TV interview appearance since her son, Ian Alexander Jr., died by suicide in January 2022, King sat down with Good Morning America to reflect on the tragic loss.


“I’m a different person, you know, now than I was January 19,” King shared. “Grief is a journey, you know? I understand that grief is love that has no place to go.”

“I know that it’s important for me to honor Ian in the totality of who he is, speak about him in the present because he is always with me and the joy and happiness that he gave all of us,” she added.

The Shirley star also added that it's vital to discuss the common misconception surrounding depression, noting that battles with mental health can manifest in diverse ways. “When it comes to depression, people expect it to look a certain way — they expect it to look heavy,” King told Robin Roberts.

“To have to experience this and not be able to have the time to just sit with Ian’s choice, which I respect and understand… He didn’t want to be here anymore, and that’s a hard thing for other people to receive because they did not live our experience, did not live Ian’s journey.”

Jeff Kravitz / Contributor/Getty Images

The Academy Award winner openly revealed that she was initially “so angry with God.”

“Why would that weight be given to Ian? Of all of the things that we had gone through — therapy, psychiatrists, programs — and Ian was like, ‘I’m tired of talking, Mom,' " she said.

With the memory of her son near to her, King said through tears, “My favorite thing about myself is being Ian’s mom and I can say that with a smile, with tears, with all of the emotion that comes with that. I can’t do that if I did not respect the journey.”

Anderson, 26, was a musician, DJ, and King’s only child. In 2019, Ian escorted his mother on the red carpet of the Golden Globes, where she took home the award for "Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture."

He toldE! News at the time, "She's just a super mom. She doesn't really let bad work days or anything come back and ruin the time that we have. It's really awesome to have a mother who I can enjoy spending time with."

Understanding that grief is shared by many others, King emphasizes the unique weight of her role as Ian's mother and acknowledges that the sadness will always be a part of her.

“Sometimes, a lot of guilt comes over me. When a parent loses a child, you still wonder, ‘What could I have done so that wouldn’t have happened?’ I know that I share this grief with everyone, but no one else is Ian’s mom, you know? Only me. So it’s mine. And the sadness will never go away. It will always be with me.”

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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Featured image by Shannon Finney / Stringer/Getty Images

 

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