The multi-talented star talks about loss, her future and Broadway in a revealing interview with Glamour

By Nick Maslow
Updated October 08, 2015 05:30 PM
Victor Demarchelier/Glamour

Jennifer Hudson is sharing her profound perspective on life and loss as the seventh anniversary of her family’s murders approaches.

“It’s frustrating as hell to me to have somebody who ain’t lost nothing try to talk to me about it,” Hudson, 34, said in her personal interview for Glamour‘s November issue. “I want to say, ‘Don’t even bother, because you know nothing.’ But you never know how much you can get through until you’re going through it.”

Hudson’s mother, brother and nephew were taken from her in October 2008. Her former brother-in-law, William Balfour, was convicted of the murders and is now serving three consecutive life sentences in prison.

“I went from being an aunt, having a mom, and being a child to not having a mom, becoming a mom, and raising my own child,” Hudson said.

Nearly one year after the tragedy, Hudson gave birth to her and wrestler David Otunga’s first child, David Otunga Jr.

“I tell David all the time, ‘You saved my life,'” she said.

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For Hudson, it’s crucial to make sure her 6-year-old aware of the nation’s dialogue about race.

“I’ve started by telling him some of the world’s greatest people – leaders and athletes – are black people,” she said. “But I also tell him the reality of things. When a little black boy was playing in a playground with a toy gun and got shot by police, I told him, ‘You can’t go outside and play with a gun. That’s not safe or smart for you to do.’ I want to teach him, to make him able to make smart decisions for himself.”

In Spike Lee’s movie Chiraq, out this December, Hudson plays a mother who loses her daughter to gun violence. The experience was all too real for her.

“There’s a scene where we’re all holding up boards with [photos of] our slain children on them,” she said. “I turned around, and it’s a sea of real women [as extras] holding pictures of children they actually lost. I’m a character holding a picture of a little girl, but in real life I have the same story.”

The multi-talented star is also gearing up for her Broadway debut in November. Taking on the role of Shug Avery in The Color Purple will put her one step closer to reaching the coveted EGOT status, which requires a performer to receive an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. She is already halfway there, having won an Oscar for 2006’s Dreamgirls and a Grammy for her self-titled 2008 album. However, Hudson thinks the stage might win her over.

“I think I’m going to fall in love with Broadway,” she said. “I think I’ll be like, I want to stay here.”