Singer and actress Jennifer Hudson has spoken out about the pain she felt following the shootings that killed her mother, brother and seven-year-old nephew.
“There would be no point in faith if it wasn’t tested. My mother always told me no matter how negative your life seems to be, you must always look for a positive,” Hudson said in an interview published Sunday by British newspaper The Guardian.
Hudson’s mother, Darnell Donerson, 57, and her 29-year-old brother Jason were found shot to death inside their family home in Chicago in October of 2008. Julian King, her elder sister Julia’s son, was reported missing after the shootings. Three days later, his body was found in a parked car on the other side of Chicago.
Julia Hudson’s estranged husband, William Balfour, was arrested and charged with the three murders. In the summer of 2012 Jennifer and Julia attended the trial, and Balfour received three consecutive life sentences.
“In many ways the trial was the most dreadful part of it all,” Hudson said. “But again I know my mother would not have wanted us to miss a beat, so we were there every day.”
An Oscar and Grammy winner, Hudson said that faith helped her through the horror of the killings and the subsequent trial.
“I have definitely seen the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows,” Hudson said. “You don’t know how strong you are until you are placed in that kind of moment.”
The 32-year-old singer said she has come a long way from her days as a youth growing up, and even since 2006, when she starred in the film version of “Dreamgirls” and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
“It feels like another Jennifer life. I don’t look the same … So many things have changed. I sometimes think the only constant is my voice,” said Hudson. Since that tragic period in her life, Hudson became engaged to WWE Tag Team Champion David Otunga, had a son and became a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers.
This September will see the release of her third album, “JHUD,” which will include a song she wrote in memory of her mother.
“My momma taught me everything I know, and I will take it everywhere I go, if you think you’ve seen it all, just keep on living, live long,” go the lyrics.