Regina King Speaks for the First Time About Her Son Ian's Death in 2022

“I know that it’s important to me to honor Ian in the totality of who he is, speak about him in the present, because he is always with me."


Mar. 14 2024, Published 9:42 a.m. ET

Regina King with her son Ian at the 2019 American Music Awards on Nov. 24, 2019
Source: Getty Images

More than two years after his death, Oscar-winner Regina King is speaking about the loss of her son Ian Alexander Jr. in January 2022. Since she waited until 2024 to talk about his death publicly, many weren't aware that Regina had suffered such a tremendous personal loss.

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Following Regina's decision to begin discussing her son's death in public, many wanted to better understand what the circumstances were surrounding his death. Here's everything we know about Regina's son, and what brought about his death.

Regina King with her son Ian at the 76th Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 6, 2019
Source: Getty Images
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What happened to Regina King's son?

Ian died by suicide in January 2022 at the age of 26.

“Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian,” Regina said in a statement 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.”

Ian, Regina's only child, was born in 1996. She shared him with her ex-husband, record producer Ian Alexander Sr.

Prior to his death, Ian was working as a musician and DJ under the name Desduné. He also frequently accompanied his mother to a wide array of red carpet events, including her induction onto the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“She’s just a super mom,” Ian said at the Golden Globes in 2019. “She doesn’t really let bad work days or anything come back and ruin the time that we have. It’s really awesome to have a mother who I can enjoy spending time with.”

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Regina is ready to talk about her son's death.

In an interview with Good Morning America that aired in March 2024, Regina finally addressed her son's death publicly. Speaking with Robin Roberts, Regina said that she was "a different person" now than she had been before Ian's death.

“Grief is a journey, you know. I understand that grief is love that has no place to go,” she said.

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“I know that it’s important to me to honor Ian in the totality of who he is, speak about him in the present, because he is always with me and the joy and happiness that he gave all of us," she continued.

Regina also discussed how she saw Ian. “When it comes to depression, people expect it to look a certain way — they expect it to look heavy,” she said.

“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 … He didn’t want to be here anymore, and that’s a hard thing for other people to receive because they did not live our experience, did not live Ian’s journey," she continued.

“Sometimes, a lot of guilt comes over me," Regina continued. "When a parent loses a child, you still wonder, ‘What could I have done so that wouldn’t have happened?’ I know that I share this grief with everyone, but no one else is Ian’s mom, you know? Only me. So it’s mine. And the sadness will never go away. It will always be with me.”

If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call, text, or message the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Dial or text 988, call 1-800-273-8255, or chat via their website.

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