Advertisement

Regina King opens up about son's death for first time: 'The sadness will never go away'

"I understand that grief is love that has no place to go."

Regina King is speaking out for the first time about her son Ian Alexander Jr.'s death.

The Oscar-winning actress, who dedicated her upcoming film Shirley to her late son, revealed that she has become “a different person” since Alexander died by suicide at the age of 26 in 2022.

"Grief is a journey, you know?” King told Robin Roberts on Thursday’s episode of Good Morning America. “I understand that grief is love that has no place to go."

She added that she continues to honor Alexander, who struggled with his mental health, by speaking “about him in the present, because he’s always with me” and remembering “the joy and happiness that he gave all of us.”

"When it comes to depression, people expect it to look a certain way, and they expect it to look heavy,” King said.

"And people expect that" — she paused as she began to cry — “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 said that as a parent it was difficult for her to witness Alexander’s struggles. "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.'"

The actress continued, “My favorite thing about myself is being Ian's mom. And I can't 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.” 

<p>Aliah Anderson/Getty</p> Regina King

Aliah Anderson/Getty

Regina King

Still, King acknowledged, she wrestles with her grief and acceptance. “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 added, "I know that I share this grief with everyone. But no one else is Ian's mom, you know? Only me. 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?"

Watch King remember her son in the clip above.

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.

Related content:

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.