Regina King Speaks About Her Son’s Death For The First Time: ‘I’m A Different Person’

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Regina King’s son died two years ago and the actress is speaking about it for the first time.

During an interview with Good Morning America, the star, 53, opened up about the grieving process after her son, Ian Alexander Jr., died by suicide in January 2022 at the age of 26.

“Grief is a journey,” King began. “I’m a different person, you know, now than I was Jan. 19,” the Academy Award winner told Robin Roberts. “Grief is a journey, you know? I understand that grief is love that has no place to go.”

Alexander struggled with depression, which King expanded on during the interview.

“When it comes to depression, people expect it to look a certain way and they expect it to look heavy,” she said. “And people expect that … 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, you know, that he didn’t wanna be here anymore, that’s a hard thing for other people to receive because they did not live our experience, did not live Ian’s journey.”

King also revealed that seeing her son struggle with his mental health brought about anger within her.

“I was so angry with God. You know, why would that weight be given to Ian?” she said. “With all of the things that we had gone through with the therapy, with psychiatrists and programs and Ian was like, ‘I’m tired of talking, Mom,’” she recalled.

Two years after her son’s death, the actress admitted she still struggles to accept the tragedy she experienced. 

“Sometimes, you know, a lot of guilt comes over me,” she said. “When a parent loses a child, you still wonder, ‘What could I have done so that wouldn’t have happened?’”

She continued, “I know that I share this grief with everyone. But no one else is Ian’s mom, you know? Only me,” she continued. “And so, it’s mine. And the sadness will never go away. It’ll always be with me. And I think I saw somewhere, the sadness is a reminder of how much he means to me, you know?”

Alexander, who also deejayed under the stage name Desdune, was King’s only child and she shared him with her ex-husband, Ian Alexander Sr.

Regina King Speaks About Her Son’s Death For The First Time: ‘I’m A Different Person’
Regina King at the 96th Annual Oscars held at at the Ovation Hollywood on March 10, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images)

Her son often accompanied her on the red carpet and to honor him, she recently wore orange, his favorite color, to the Oscars.

King said she still feels her son’s presence and it shows up as “Ian-spirations” or little moments from the universe that remind her that he’s here.

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

She concluded with a message she’s shared prior his passing that is even more poignant now: “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.”

African-American men commit suicide at more than three times the rate of African-American women according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Also, young Black boys are at risk considering the suicide rate for Black children ages 10 to 19 has risen 60% within the past two decades, outpacing any other racial or ethnic group.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health issues and/or suicidal ideation, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, 24 hours a day.

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