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Regina King gives first TV interview since death of her beloved son

Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health matters, please call the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 to connect with a trained counselor, or visit the 988 Lifeline website.

Regina King’s favorite role has been that of being a mom.

King spoke with “Good Morning America” in an interview that aired Thursday, her first since the death of her 26-year-old son Ian Alexander Jr., who died by suicide in January 2022.

The actress has dedicated her forthcoming film, “Shirley,” about activist and politician Shirley Chisholm, to her late son and said much has changed since his passing.

“I’m a different person, you know, now than I was January 19 [2022 before her son died],” King told “GMA’s” Robin Roberts. “Grief is a journey. I understand that grief is love that has no place to go.”

She said she wishes to honor Ian in the “totality” of who he has been, speaking about her son in the present tense because “he is always with me.”

King said despite the joy and happiness Ian gave her and others, her son struggled to find it for himself.

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

Regina King and Ian Alexander Jr. in 2017. - James Devaney/GC/Getty Images
Regina King and Ian Alexander Jr. in 2017. - James Devaney/GC/Getty Images

She paused and began to shed tears.

“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,” King said. “He didn’t want to be here anymore and that’s a hard thing for other people to receive because they did not live out experience, did not live Ian’s journey.”

King said she is still grieving.

“I know that I share this grief with everyone. But no one else is Ian’s mom, you know? Only me,” she continued. “The sadness will never go away. It’ll always be with me.”

The Oscar-winning actress was often accompanied by Ian to events over the years. She wore orange, his favorite color, to honor him during her appearance at the recent Academy Awards.

“My favorite thing about myself is being Ian’s mom,” she said. “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 don’t respect the journey.”

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