Jennifer Hudson is a global superstar. From rising to fame on American Idol, she's gone on to star in a multitude of smash-hit movies and even won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in Dreamgirls.
But, behind-the-scenes Jennifer has been dealing with the grief of losing the majority of her immediate family after her mother Darnell, brother Jason and seven-year-old nephew, Julian, were killed by her sister’s estranged husband, William Balfour, in 2008.
While he was given three life sentences for the tragic crime following a trial in 2012, Jennifer revealed the trauma of an event like that never goes away.
On William Balfour being handed such a long sentence, Jennifer told The Guardian, “Thank God. I think I attribute that first to God, next to [the fact that] when you experience trauma, it comes and goes. It’s always there. But it’s a matter of how you deal with it.”
Jennifer, 38, has powered on despite her heartbreaking loss and has continued to excel in her career – most recently starring as a judge on The Voice UK alongside Will.i.am, Tom Jones and Olly Murs.
She is set to be replaced by Meghan Trainor on the new series in 2020.
And “pressing on” is what her family would have wanted her to do.
“It would be worse, to me, not to press forward. I’m hearing my brother’s voice say, ‘Jenny, knock it off!’ He would be angry at me for giving up,” the actress admitted. “Or all the things that my mother instilled in us. She prepared us.”
Having had her own son, David Daniel Otunga Jr in 2009 with long-term partner David Otunga, Jennifer said as long as she’s caring for her own family she knows she’s doing her mother proud.
“She would say, ‘You know, I’m not always going to be here, and I want you all to be able to make it.’ She used to say, without family, you have nothing, which is why it’s so important to take care of family. So if I’m doing that, I know I’m pleasing my mother.”
Jennifer – who is starring in the movie adaptation of Cats, the musical – said she does what she does for her late family, “So to live in a way that honours them is what presses you forward. Not to mention, thank God, that I have a child to live for.”