Jennifer Hudson is ready to forgive her brother-in-law William Balfour, who was convicted of murdering her sister, mother and nephew, the singer tells Oprah Winfrey.
The veteran talk-show host spoke to Jennifer Hudson about the tragedy that struck the entertainer’s family four years ago, when Hudson’s estranged brother-in-law murdered her mother, brother and nephew. The difficult discussion led to an unexpected revelation from Hudson: Not only has she forgiven William Balfour for killing her loved ones, but she doesn’t even hold him completely responsible for his actions.
“For the most part, it’s not his fault,” Hudson said.
That’s a perspective she has despite having attended every day of Balfour’s trial for the slayings and despite hearing a judge declare that Balfour has “the heart of an arctic night” and a soul “as barren as dark space.”
“It’s what he was taught, how he was brought up,” Hudson explained.
And it was a far cry from her own upbringing.
“You never had a chance,” she said regarding Balfour. “Had you had the love my mother gave us, or the background, you know, that some have, then you would’ve stood a chance.”
That’s part of what helped her find forgiveness for the man — that as well as a lesson she and her sister Julia, who was also present for the interview, learned from their late mother.
“I always say the greatest gift our mother gave us was introducing us to Christ and bringing us up in church,” Hudson explained in a bonus clip on Oprah.com. “I feel like that’s the base, that’s the foundation and that’s what keeps me doubtless and grounded and I think of it every day.”
In an emotional interview for Oprah’s Next Chapter, Hudson broke down in tears describing the pain of dealing with her loss.
“A lot of things came out, that we didn’t even know about, from his upbringing, which is like he never had a chance,” Hudson told Oprah.
The grieving mother of Julian says she blamed herself for the murders. She said: ‘Of course, how can I not go through the what ifs? Because I married him. If I hadn’t saw what I thought I saw in him. “And once I did begin to see who he really was, I tried to get out. That was his promise: ‘If you leave me. I’ll kill you. I’ll kill your family first.’ I left. And he did what he said he would.”
The Oscar-winning singer and actress admits that the path to forgiveness was rocky, and it took her time to make her peace with the tragedy. “It literally takes a part of you,” she explains through tears. “Like, who I do grieve for first or who do I start with?”
With Balfour serving three life sentences without the possibility of parole, followed by 120 years for other crimes., Hudson feels ready for closure. “I haven’t been to the grave site since we buried them,” she admits. “But now I want to go because I feel like we’ve accomplished this. We’ve done this. We got justice for you. I can’t come back here empty handed. I’ve came back with just being served.”
The Dreamgirls star’s words of compassion come after she was devastated four years ago when her mother Darnell Donerson, brother Jason Hudson were gunned down in her hometown Chicago.
Her seven-year-old nephew Julian King was reported missing from the home, but was found dead in the back of an abandoned SUV days later.
And she admitted she did not know how to respond after suffering such massive loss.