Jennifer Hudson on how she survived the trauma of losing her mom, brother and nephew to gun violence

Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Hudson talks to The Guardian about her new role in Cats, surviving trauma and how her papa was a rolling stone.

Jennifer Hudson attends Nickelodeon's 2019 Kids' Choice Awards at Galen Center on March 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Jennifer Hudson rarely speaks about the immense tragedy that claimed the lives of her mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew in 2008. However, she recently revealed that she doesn’t dwell in a place of sadness because her mother would want her to move on.

“Thank God,” Hudson told The Guardian in a sit-down interview. “I think I attribute that first to God, next to (the realization that) when you experience trauma, it comes and goes. It’s always there. But it’s a matter of how you deal with it.”

An actress in the upcoming movie adaptation of Cats, Hudson spoke to The Guardian about her new role, her son, her sister, her work ethic, and the loss of her mother, Darnell Donerson, brother, Jason Hudson, and nephew, Julian King, and “what they would have wanted me to do.”

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Hudson said although she gets sad, “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. Or all the things that my mother instilled in us. She prepared us. 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,” revealed Hudson.

“As for my nephew; that’s where the Julian D. King Gift Foundation (her philanthropic organization) comes from because he was strong and very smart. So to live in a way that honors them is what presses you forward. Not to mention, thank God, that I have a child to live for,” Hudson told The Guardian.

William Balfour, Hudson’s sister, Julia’s estranged former husband, was given three consecutive life sentences for the murders.

“Of course you still get sad,” Hudson told The Guardian. “(However) that’s what I go back to: What would my mother say? What would she do?”

Hudson and her sister live close by in Chicago. Hudson purchased a house for Julia, who works as a school bus driver.

Hudson also told the newspaper that her late father had 27 children and that although she hasn’t met all of them, she does know “quite a few.”

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“Oh, yes,” she said. “Eleven girls, 16 boys. I’m the youngest, or at least in the last two or three. And it was always my dream — because I love family — to have a giant table with all my siblings. Just imagine the giant table!”

Cats hits theaters on Dec. 20.

Jennifer Hudson/ CATS

Universal Pictures