Between hit songs, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and a freakin' Oscar, Jennifer Hudson's life seems like the picture of perfection from an outsider's perspective. But no amount of fame and fortune could prepare someone for the kind of tragedy that struck Jennifer's family a few years ago.
In 2008, Jennifer's mother, brother, and nephew were are killed in a shooting committed by her estranged former brother-in-law, William Balfour. Understandably, the actress and singer took some time off after this horrible tragedy and did not confront the topic much.
Now, she's opening up about the unimaginably painful aftermath and what helps her cope.
She's remained strong even in the face of ignorant comments
Jennifer spoke to Glamour magazine and discussed her upcoming role in the Broadway musical revival of The Color Purple. She opened up about one particular scene where all extras are holding up pictures of children that passed away in real life and how it reminded her of her own experiences.
"It's frustrating as hell to me to have somebody who ain't lost nothing try to talk to me about it. 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."
Losing such a huge portion of your family in one moment is unfathomable, and it's remarkable how level-headed and honest Jennifer has been. And she credits one person in particular for helping her through it.
She admits that her son "saved her life"
As the relationships she relied on for years were suddenly torn away from her, Jennifer turned to a new one to help her cope with the loss. David Daniel Ortunga, Jr., her son with husband David Ortunga, was born in 2009 and brought along with him an immediate purpose for the new mom:
"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. I tell David all the time, 'You saved my life.'"
Obviously, nothing could ever replace the people she lost, but the fact that Jennifer was able to put her energy into forming a new family is a healthy and commendable end to such a sad story. She deserves to be happy, and it sounds like being an adorable mom is doing just that.