Jennifer Hudson has broken her silence on the tragedy that struck her family in October 2008. On Monday night’s episode of VH1’s Behind the Music, the Oscar-winning actress openly discussed the appalling murders of her mother, brother and nephew for the first time.
“It’s all a blur. It was surreal,” J-Hud said in the episode, via MTV News. “It was like I was outside of myself. For almost two weeks straight… [I was] inside one room with just family and friends coming in and out. I prayed when I’d get up in the morning and prayed before I laid down at night.”
In October 2008, the bodies of Jennifer’s mother, Darnell Hudson Donerson, 57, and older brother, Jason, 29, were discovered inside the home she grew up in on Chicago’s South Side. Julian King, Jennifer’s 7-year-old nephew, was reported missing soon after, and his body was later discovered in an SUV on Chicago’s West Side.
All three of her family members died from multiple gunshot wounds. William Balfour, the estranged husband of Jennifer’s sister Julia, was charged with the murders.
The tragedy came at a pinnacle in Jennifer’s career and personal life — she was recently engaged to David Otunga and had just released her debut album.
The Grammy-winning songstress maintained a low-profile after the murders, and made her public comeback at the 2009 Grammys with a powerful performance of her single, “You Pulled Me Through.”
“I was definitely thinking of my family when I was singing that song,” she said. “I could hear my brother in my head, like, ‘Jennifer, you need to kill this, you need to get up and do it.’ I knew he would be disappointed if I didn’t do it justice.”
Jennifer has been moving on from the difficult time in her life, finding strength in being a mother to her young son, David Jr.
“He reminds me of my nephew,” she said her son. “He makes me feel like the most special person on earth. I want him to get the same love and the same upbringing my mother gave us.”
“I feel like I’ve lived about three or four different lives,” Jen explained about her life since the tragedy. “In so many ways I channel [my mother] because she was such a great mom.”