Advertisement

Regina King Says Her Son Was 'Struggling So Much' Before His Death: 'But He Never Presented That Way'

Regina King's son Ian Alexander Jr., whom she shared with her ex-husband Ian Alexander Sr., died by suicide at 26 in January 2022

<p>John Sciulli/Getty</p> Ian Alexander Jr. and Regina King on Feb. 22, 2014

John Sciulli/Getty

Ian Alexander Jr. and Regina King on Feb. 22, 2014

Regina King is reflecting on her late son Ian Alexander Jr.'s struggles, more than two years after he died by suicide at 26.

In King's Harper’s BAZAAR April 2024 cover story for its Possibility Issue, the Oscar winner, 54, said, "I feel like I am in a place now where my faith has really been challenged,” while opening up about life since Ian, whom she shared with ex-husband Ian Alexander Sr., died.

"I don’t know that I should say this, because I feel like it’s where I used to be, but that idea that what you put into it is what you get back — it’s been proven to me that that’s not necessarily true," she continued.

“When I look at all of the work and everything that we and Ian put into trying to move through the depression … I mean, he’s pure joy and pure light,” she added of her son, who was a DJ and performing musician.

“But he was struggling so much. We knew. We knew what we were going through, but he never presented that way," she added of her son's experience with depression. "That’s why I know that a smile doesn’t always mean happy. He would never not let whoever he was with feel like they were the most special person in the world. So for me, I’m like, ‘Man, he was putting a lot into things, a lot into people, a lot into this world, and yet it wasn’t translating back. ' "

Related: Regina King Stars as Shirley Chisholm, the First Black Woman in Congress, in Powerful Shirley Trailer

<p>Luis Alberto Rodriguez</p> Regina King in Harper's Bazaar

Luis Alberto Rodriguez

Regina King in Harper's Bazaar

King told the outlet that she is still processing Ian's death and spoke to the importance of meeting other women who have lost their children to discuss their grief journeys. "One thing that I feel like every mother that I talk to feels like is that no one could have prepared me for this," she said. "No one told me this part. There’s something about them, 11 years, 12 years later—the grief is still there.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories. 

In the cover story, King also shared that she was grateful the cast and crew of her new Netflix movie Shirley supported her in the aftermath of Ian's death. Harper's Bazaar reported Ian's death came roughly one month after King began filming the movie, in which she stars as Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress.

Related: Regina King Says She Sometimes Still Feels 'Guilt' After Son's Death: 'The Sadness Will Never Go Away'

<p>Vivien Killilea/Getty</p> Regina King and Ian Alexander Jr. on Oct. 18, 2017

Vivien Killilea/Getty

Regina King and Ian Alexander Jr. on Oct. 18, 2017

“I know Ian would have felt like if I didn’t finish something because of a choice that he needed to make, then I wasn’t honoring him,” she said. “We all landed at the finish line on Ian’s wings. He guided us there.”

Shirley also stars the late Lance ReddickLucas Hedges and Terrence Howard. King's younger sister Reina King also worked as a producer on the movie, which begins streaming on Netflix Friday.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741741 or go to 988lifeline.org.

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.