Cicely Tyson memoir details relationship with daughter

Tyson wrote about working several jobs to help support herself and her daughter

Hollywood legend, Cicely Tyson, who died on Thursday at the age of 96, opened up about her relationship with her daughter in her new memoir “Just As I Am.” Choosing to keep her daughter’s real name private, she refers to her in the book as “Joan.”

According to PEOPLE, Tyson, who married her first husband Kenneth Franklin in December 1942, gave birth to Joan in February 1943 when she was 18-years-old.

The Oscar-nominated actress dedicated her memoir to Joan, writing that her daughter was “the one who has paid the greatest price for this gift to all,” and signed the dedication, “Love, Mom.”

Read More: 7 reasons Cicely Tyson deserves ALL of our respect

Released on Jan. 26, Tyson’s memoir hit No. 1 on Amazon within hours after her death. Published by HarperCollins, the 432-page book is in such demand that it’s temporarily out of stock on Amazon, and the site does not indicate when it will be available.

The Kindle version can be downloaded and an audio version, which Tyson narrates herself along with Oscar-winner, Viola Davis and Robin Miles, is also available on Amazon and other retailers.

Cicely Tyson of “Cherish the Day” speaks during the OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network segment of the 2020 Winter TCA Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 16, 2020 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Tyson writes in her memoir that she left her first husband when Joan was only two, stressing that although he was a “good man,” she felt “strongly” about her decision.

Determined to give Joan an education that eclipsed her own, Tyson wrote about working several jobs to help support herself and Joan. Eventually, she sent Joan to a boarding school far from their home in New York City, and she described the great distance between them as painful.

Read More: Viola Davis remembers mentor Cicely Tyson: ‘You gave me permission to dream’

Tyson also divulged the reason she so rarely spoke about her daughter, explaining, “Joan felt, as a child, that she had to share me with the world. I give her now, in adulthood, what my heart has always longed to bestow — my undivided focus, along with the full measure of her privacy.” 

Tyson’s book pushed inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman’s book, of poetry, “The Hill We Climb,” out of the top spot. Ironically, in her last message posted to social media, Tyson praised Gorman, thanking her for her “words and light.”

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