How This ‘American Idol’ Winner Overcame Her Family’s Murder

Crime scene tape

Getty Police tape

Today, William Balfour is serving life in prison at Stateville Correctional Center in Illinois for the murder of Jennifer Hudson‘s mother, brother, and 7-year-old nephew in 2008.

According to ABC 7 Chicago, Balfour was Hudson’s brother-in-law. He was arrested the day of the murders and did not testify in trial. In 2016, Balfour came forward to speak for the first time.

Asked by ABC 7’s Chuck Goudie if he “wanted her dead”, in regards to his then-wife, Julia (Jennifer’s sister), Balfour said, “No, not at all… we wasn’t even in a relationship anymore.” He added, “Not one time did I ever threaten her, period.”

At the time, Balfour was on parole for a 1992 attempted murder conviction, ABC 7 reported.

In 2015, Hudson opened up to Glamour magazine about the topic, saying, “It’s frustrating as hell to me to have somebody who ain’t lost nothing try to talk to me about it,” she said. “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.”

She added that her son, David, who was born one year after the murders, was key to helping her pull through. “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… I tell David [now six] all the time, ‘You saved my life.'”

Jennifer Hudson – And I Am Telling You I'm Not GoingMusica do filme Dreamgirls. Interpretação perfeita levou a cantora ao oscar de melhor atriz coadjuvante nesse filme musical.2009-07-12T17:08:39Z

Balfour Married Hudson’s Sister in 2006

In 2006, Jennifer’s sister, Julia, married Balfour. One year later, according to Thought Co, Julia’s mother “threw” him out of the home.

According to the outlet, reports indicate that Balfour threatened to kill members of the Hudson family “on at least two dozen occasions” before the 2008 murders.

Assistant State’s Attorney James McKay said that the threats started shortly after Balfour and Julia Hudson broke up. “McKay said Balfour told Julia, ‘If you ever leave me, I’m going to kill you, but I’m going to kill your family first. You will be the last to die.'”

On the stand, an ex-girlfriend, Brittany Acoff Howard, testified that Balfour had asked her to cover for him the day that Hudson’s family was killed.

In trial, Acoff Howard said, “He told me that if anybody asks you, I’ve been out west all day.”

Before his sentencing, according to Thought Co, Balfour told the courtroom, “My deepest prayers go out to Julian King. I loved him. I still love him. I’m innocent your honor.”

After being sentenced to life without parole for the murders, the presiding judge told Balfour, “You have the heart of an arctic night. Your soul is as barren as dark space.” To this day, he has maintained his innocence.

In her interview with Glamour, Hudson made it clear just how strong she is and what guides her to this day. “My whole life, through the good things, the bad things, I know nothing is guaranteed… I’ve seen the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows and everything in between, just like Shug. But what my mother, my grandmother, and all the powerful women in my family instilled in us—our faith, and how to make it on our own—carries me through. It’s like they are very much still here.”

READ NEXT: Fans Think Something Happened to This American Idol Star’s Face