Regina King

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Image Credit: Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Regina King is dedicating her upcoming film, Shirley, to her late son Ian Alexander Jr., who died by suicide at the age of 26 in 2022. In an upcoming Good Morning America appearance, the Miss Congeniality 2 star described how grief has changed her life since her son’s tragic death.

“Grief is a journey. I understand that,” Regina pointed out in the March 2024 interview. “Grief is love that has no place to go. And that we all handle it differently. I know that it’s important to me to honor Ian in the totality of who he is, speak about him in the present, because he is always with me and the joy and happiness that he gave all of us.”

Regina also acknowledged the guilt she still struggles with as a parent. She continued, “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, you know? Only me. So it’s mine. And the sadness will never go away. It will always be with me.”

In January 2022, the Oscar winner announced in a statement that Ian had died by suicide.

“Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian,” the Oscar winner, 51, said in a statement, per PEOPLE. “He is such a bright light who cared so deeply about the happiness of others. Our family asks for respectful consideration during this private time. Thank you.”

Regina King
Regina King is mourning the death of her son Ian Alexander Jr., who died by suicide at the age of 26. (Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/Shutterstock)

Keep reading to find out more about Ian, below.

Ian Was Regina’s Only Child

Ian Jr. was born on January 19, 1996 to Regina and record producer Ian Alexander. Regina and Ian Sr. married a year later and divorced in 2007. Regina later admitted that raising her only child as a single parent wasn’t always easy, but well worth it. “You don’t know what unconditional love is. You may say you do, but if you don’t have a child, you don’t know what that is,” she told People. “When you experience it, it’s the most fulfilling [thing] ever.”

He Followed in His Father’s Footsteps

Like his father, Ian would pursue a career in music, using his talents as a DJ. In a post to his Instagram just three days before the sad news of his death was announced, Ian told his fans he would be performing in a Los Angeles club in the following week. “It’s been a minute but now we back at the jump off,” he wrote alongside a promotional photo of himself for the upcoming gig.

Ian Was Proud of His Mother

Ian clearly loved his mother, as he often took to social media to express his feelings for her. Last January, he shared an adorable photo of the pair on Instagram for Regina’s birthday writing, “Happy birthday to my co, so extremely proud of you and inspired by your love, artistry, and gangsta! To be able to watch you take this lifetime by its neck and make it yours is something i will forever be grateful for. But to have you as my mother is the greatest gift I could ask for. Love you mom! This day and everyday YO DAY!!

Ian and Regina Got Matching Tattoos

The special mother/son bond between Regina and Ian was nowhere more obvious than in their matching tattoos. Regina had “unconditional love” written in Aramaic on her arm, while Ian sported it on his shoulder. “We were taking Kabbalah classes,” Regina explained of the tattoos on The View in 2017. “He said, let’s choose three [designs] each and not tell each other which ones they are and whichever one is matching, that’s the one we’re going to get tattooed — and we both chose unconditional love.”

Ian Walked the Red Carpets With Regina

Regina and Ian were a staple on the red carpet, as she has been nominated for numerous awards over the years, which brought her an Oscar, a Golden Globe and four Emmys. At the 2019 Golden Globes, Ian gushed about his mom when he was interviewed on the red carpet. “She’s just a super mom,” he told E!. “She doesn’t really let bad work days or anything come back and ruin the time that we have. It’s really awesome to have a mother who I can enjoy spending time with.”

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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