Regina King Steps onto the Red Carpet in First Public Appearance Since Her Son's Tragic Death

PEOPLE confirmed in January that the actress' late son Ian Alexander Jr. died by suicide just days ahead of his 26th birthday

SANTA MARGHERITA DI PULA, ITALY - JUNE 10: Regina King attends the Filming Italy 2022 red carpet on June 10, 2022 in Santa Margherita di Pula, Italy. (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli / Getty Images)
Photo: Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli / Getty

Regina King is returning to the red carpet for the first time after losing her son in a tragic death earlier this year.

The Watchmen actress made an appearance at an awards ceremony during the Filming Italy Festival in Santa Margherita di Pula, Italy.

King, 51, graced the red carpet wearing a sleeveless white dress that showcased her arms and a slither of her stomach. For the glamorous night, the Academy Award winner embellished her ensemble with a pair of matching colored high heels and a Louis Vuitton purse. A portion of her hair tied into braids was dyed orange for the occasion.

SANTA MARGHERITA DI PULA, ITALY - JUNE 10: Regina King attends Filming Italy 2022 on June 10, 2022 in Santa Margherita di Pula, Italy. (Photo by Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli / Getty Images)
Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli / Getty

The sighting marked her first public outing since the death of her son, Ian Alexander Jr., in January.

"Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian," King said in a statement sent to PEOPLE announcing the tragedy at the time. "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."

A Los Angeles County Coroner spokesperson later confirmed to PEOPLE that Alexander Jr.'s death was officially ruled a suicide.

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He was King's only child, whom she shared with her ex-husband, record producer Ian Alexander Sr.

Following in his father's musical footsteps, Ian was a deejay. King previously told PEOPLE that he was "an amazing young man."

Despite her growing success as an actor and director, King said at the time that Ian was her biggest source of pride. After separating from Ian's father in 2007 after nine years of marriage, King admitted being a single parent wasn't always easy, but that nothing is stronger than her love for her son.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - NOVEMBER 02: (L-R) Ian Alexander Jr. and Regina King, wearing Gucci, attend the 2019 LACMA Art + Film Gala Presented By Gucci at LACMA on November 02, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for LACMA)
Emma McIntyre/Getty for LACMA)

"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 explained at the time. "When you experience it, it's the most fulfilling [thing] ever."

A week prior to his death, the deejay reflected on his relationship with social media. He made his final Twitter posts on Jan. 14, five days ahead of his 26th birthday.

"I don't think instagram is healthy for me," one of his tweets read.

In another, Alexander Jr. wrote, "You know that episode of SpongeBob where they go inside his brain and it's a bunch of mini spongebobs just losing their s---…..yea that one really hits home."

RELATED: Regina King's Son Ian Alexander Jr. Dies by Suicide: He 'Cared So Deeply'

Following that tweet, he shared an image from the Nickelodeon show featuring the episode in question.

In honor of his mom's 50th birthday last year, Ian paid tribute to the multi-hyphenate on Instagram, 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."

He continued, "But to have you as my mother is the greatest gift I could ask for. To be all that you are while always having the time to be there, love and support me unconditionally is truly remarkable. The whole marvel universe ain't got s--- on you, your the real superhero! Love you mom! This day and everyday YO DAY!!"

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to

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