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Regina King Opened Up About Grieving Her Son's Death In A Deeply Personal New Interview

Content warning: This article contains discussion of suicide.

Regina King is opening up about grieving her son Ian Alexander Jr.'s death. In 2022, Ian died by suicide at 26 years old.

regina and her son seated at an event, smiling
Kevin Mazur/AMA2019 / Getty Images for dcp

Regina sat down with Robin Roberts for her first TV interview since Ian's death, and the actor said her grief has been an ongoing "journey."

A closeup of the Regina and her son dressed up for an event
Emma McIntyre / Getty Images for LACMA

"I understand that grief is love that has no place to go. I know that it's important to me to honor Ian in the totality of who he is [and to] speak about him in the present, because he's always with me [as is] the joy and happiness that he gave all of us," she said.

Regina  in a denim outfit and baseball cap, and her son in a floral shirt and yellow beanie
Vivien Killilea / Getty Images for Childhelp

The actor grew teary-eyed while discussing her son. "When it comes to depression, people expect it to look a certain way. They expect it to look heavy," she said. "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 that he didn't want to be here anymore. That's a hard thing for other people to receive because they did not live our experience [and] did not live Ian's journey."

A closeup of regina during the interview
ABC / Via youtube.com

Regina noted for a time she was "so angry with god" about her son's death. "Why would that weight be given to Ian?" she said, noting they utilized many mental health resources during his life.

  ABC / Via youtube.com
ABC / Via youtube.com

"My favorite thing about myself is being Ian's mom. 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," she said.

Regina King in a one-shoulder, beaded gown at an awards event
Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images

Regina, who won an Oscar in 2019 for the film If Beale Street Could Talk, attended the Academy Awards on Sunday as a presenter. She wore an orange dress, and Robin noted that Ian's favorite color was orange.

Regina in the gown which has a slit, hands clasped together while on stage
Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Regina concluded her discussion of Ian by explaining how she's working through her grief.

Regina and Ian on the red carpet
Gregg DeGuire / WireImage / Getty Images

"Sometimes a lot of guilt comes over me. When a parent loses a child, you still wonder, what could I have done so that wouldn’t have happened? I know that I share this grief with everyone, but no one else is Ian's mom. Only me. So it's mine, and the sadness will never go away. It will always be with me," she said. "And I think I saw, somewhere, the sadness is a reminder of how much he means to me."

A closeup of the mother and son sitting in the audience for an event
John Sciulli / Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards

Regina stars in the new Shirley Chisholm biopic on Netflix, and the film is dedicated to Ian.

Regina King stands in front of a 'Shirley' poster, wearing a dark trench coat with a feathered train
Roy Rochlin / Getty Images for Netflix

Watch Regina's full interview with Robin below:

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org. The Trevor Project, which provides help and suicide-prevention resources for LGBTQ youth, is 1-866-488-7386

The National Alliance on Mental Illness helpline is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.