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Jimmy Kimmel Gets Choked Up Talking to Regina King: See Her Response

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Jimmy Kimmel and Regina King shared a touching moment together during Thursday night’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. The Oscar-winning actress was a guest on the late night show, promoting her new film Shirley

And while there was no direct mention of King’s late son, Ian Jr., who died in January 2022 of a reported suicide, it was clear his loss was felt. 

“It’s very good to see you. How are you doing right now?” Kimmel asked, with a pointed emphasis. 

“Right now, I’m good,” King replied smiling. 

“Good, I’m glad to hear that,” a visibly emotional Kimmel replied, fighting back tears. “I know you’ve been through a lot the last year.”

Regina King and Jimmy Kimmel – ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’/YouTube

King picked up on the host’s emotions, reaching out and holding Kimmel’s hand. 

“It’s good to see you Jimmy,” she said. 

Kimmel fought to find words before landing on, “Umm, did you see William Shatner backstage?” which prompted King to laugh. 

Regina King and Jimmy Kimmel – ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’/YouTube

The rest of the interview did not contain any mention of the actress’ late son, however, she has spoken about him several times recently as she’s returned to the public eye. 

Ian Alexander Jr. was the only child of King and her ex-husband, record producer, Ian Alexander. The exes were married in 1997 and were together for a decade before divorcing. According to multiple reports, Ian Jr. died by suicide shortly after celebrating his 26th birthday in 2022. 

Earlier this month, she spoke with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America, reflecting on what life has been like for her since her 26-year-old son’s death.

“I’m a different person now, than I was then on Jan. 19,” King shared at the time. “Grief is a journey, you know?”

“I understand that grief is love that has no place to go,” King said, “and that we all handle it differently.”

“I know that it’s important for me to honor Ian and the totality of who he is,” King said on GMA. She noted that she prefers to “speak about him in the present, because he’s always with me.” 

King also opened up about her child’s mental health struggles. 

“When it comes to depression, people expect it to look a certain way and they expect it to look heavy,” she said, pausing to collect herself. 

Regina King and son Ian Jr. – Getty

King continued, “To have to experience this and not be able to have the time to just sit with Ian’s choice, which I respect and understand, that he didn’t want to be here anymore — that’s a hard thing for people to receive because they did not live our experience. They did not live Ian’s journey.” 

The actress admitted to being “so angry with God” for giving “that weight” of depression to Ian. 

“All of the things that we had gone through, the therapy, psychiatrists and programs and he just, Ian was like, ‘I’m tired of talking, Mom,'” she recalled. “My favorite thing about myself is being Ian’s mom and I can’t say that with a smile, with tears, with all of the emotions that come with that, I can’t do that if I did not respect the journey.”

“When a parent loses a child, you still wonder what could I have done so that wouldn’t have happened,” she admitted. “I know that I share this grief with everyone, but no one else is Ian’s mom. Only me. And so, it’s mine and the sadness will never go away. It will always be with me, and I think I saw somewhere, ‘The sadness is a reminder of how much he means to me.'”

ET spoke with King earlier this month about her son’s mark on her upcoming film, Shirley, a biopic about the first Black woman congresswoman, Shirley Chisholm. 

“We got here with him, he’s a part of it,” King said of her son. “He’s right here, he’s covered this whole thing.”

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 suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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