Jennifer Hudson is an award-winning singer and actress. She is set to appear on the TV tribute to Aretha Franklin, A Grammy Celebration of the Queen of Soul, where she will sing three of Franklin’s classic songs. Hudson will also play Franklin in a biopic that is slated for release in 2020.
Given Hudson’s fame, some fans may curious about her children and the rest of her immediate family, including her late brother Jason Simpson. Learn more about the performer and her relationship with her family below.
1. Her Only Child David Otunga, Jr. Was Born In 2009
Hudson’s son David Otunga, Jr. was born in August 2009. In an interview with Parent Magazine, the performer spoke about the joys of being a mother and how its changed her life. “Oh, my god, it is the best ever. I honestly have the sweetest little baby in the whole wide world. He is my little buddy,” she said. “I could go on and on and on about him if anyone asks me. I tend to go totally overboard, like most mothers do. Everything I see, I now see through a mother’s eyes.
“I always say, you never know how much your parents loved you until you have a child to love,” she added. “I have now learned what it takes to raise a child, and all of the things parents do to raise a child. Hudson also said that her son has taken after her and has taken up an interest in music. “Music is such a huge part of my upbringing and background, and now my son is embracing my world,” she revealed.
“[I sing him a] classic lullaby. I put more sentimental words and meaning into it because I wanted it to be a mother’s message to her child,” Hudson added. “One of the most precious moments in my life was having a child. It was one of the most memorable moments and it made me realize that a kid’s memorable moments is remembering sweet nights when mommy has put you to sleep while singing a favorite song.”
2. WWE Wrestler & Actor David Otunga, Sr. Is the Father Of Her Son
Hudson met David Otunga, Sr. in 2008, when the latter starred on the reality series I Love New York 2. Otunga recounted how their meeting during an interview with Wendy Williams. “I started doing a lot of interviews after the show wrapped and made friends with a couple of people,” he said. “Next thing you know, [one of his friends] says ‘Hey, you should meet my friend Jennifer.'” Otunga proposed to Hudson on her 27th birthday, and they remained engaged for several years.
Otunga, 38, is a two-time WWE Tag Team Champion and was the runner-up on the first season of NXT. He is currently signed to the WWE as a color commentator. In addition to his stint on I Love New York 2, Otunga has acted on popular shows like Celebrity Ghost Stories, General Hospital, and Criminal Minds.
Otunga and Hudson split in November 2017. Hudson’s representative released a statement that claimed that they “have been in the process of ending their relationship for a number of months.” “Yesterday, Jennifer requested and received a protective order against her ex-fiancé,” the statement continued. “Jennifer’s actions are solely taken in the best interest of their son. Please respect her privacy at this time.”
Otunga denied allegations that he was ever abusive to Hudson. “He wants to make it very clear that he denies each and every allegation contained in that petition,” his lawyer stated. “Mr. Otunga is now and has always been the primary caregiver of the parties’ son.”
3. Her Brother Jason Hudson Was Shot & Killed In 2008
Hudson’s brother Jason was murdered on October 24, 2008. His body was found in the bedroom of their family home, according to the Chicago Tribune. He was 29. The man behind the murder was later determined to be William Balfour, who was previously married to Hudson’s sister Julia. Balfour was taken into custody and in 2012, he was sentenced to three life sentences plus 120 years.
In an interview given shortly before her brother’s death, Hudson credited him and sister Julia for keeping her grounded. “My faith in God and my family, they’re very realistic and very normal, they’re not into the whole limelight kind of thing, so when I go home to Chicago that’s just another place that’s home,” she explained.
“I stand in line with everybody else, or, when I go home to my mom I’m just Jennifer, (so she says), ‘You get up and you take care of your own stuff.’ And I love that; I don’t like when people tell you everything you want to hear, I want to hear the truth, you know what I mean,” she added.
4. Her Mother Darnell Donnerson Was Also Killed & Inspired the Hudson-King Foundation
In addition to Jason, William Balfour also killed Hudson’s mother Darnell Donnerson and her nephew Julian King. The former was 57, while the latter was only 7. Julian was reported missing at the initial scene of the crime, but reports that his body was discovered in a car three days later. Both Donnerson and King died as a result of multiple gunshot wounds.
After the deaths of her family members, Hudson founded the Hudson-King Foundation. “The specific purpose of the Foundation is to care for the needs of families who have lost relatives to a violent crime,” she wrote in a statement. “This encompasses their basic needs of food, clothing and shelter as well as grief counseling.”
The Hudson-King Foundation also provides school supplies and Christmas presents to children in need. “Where we came from, a lot of kids don’t have school supplies or school clothes,” Hudson wrote on the official site. “Children should not have to worry about those things. When we went [shopping], you got two pairs of shoes and two pairs of clothes, and we were considered blessed. We make sure these kids have school supplies and [presents] for the holidays.”
5. She’s Used the Loss of Her Family As a Platform to Speak About Gun Violence
In 2015, Hudson opened up about the loss of her family members and the trauma that it has inflicted on her. “It’s frustrating as hell to me to have somebody who ain’t lost nothing try to talk to me about it,” she told Glamour Magazine. “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.”
“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,” she continued. “I tell [my son] David all the time, ‘You saved my life.'” In 2018, the performer added to her stance by speaking at a rally against gun violence. “It’s obviously something extremely close to home. … You instantly connect,” she said. “There’s very few people who know what a moment like this means. What it represents. Everything that it entails. I can’t help but be affected by it.”
“[Gun violence is] everywhere,” she added. “It’s a bad time right now, no matter where we look. Kids can’t go to school, people can’t go to church, you can’t go to the movies. It’s like, what are we doing to ourselves? What’s happening? We’re acting like animals.”