Regina King on Grieving Son Ian Alexander Jr. Two Years After His Tragic Death by Suicide

She spoke to 'Good Morning America' about her grief.

Ian Alexander Jr. and Regina King, wearing Gucci, attend the 2019 LACMA Art + Film Gala Presented By Gucci at LACMA on November 02, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

CW: This article references depression and suicide.

Regina King is sharing what grieving her son Ian Alexander Jr. two years after his death by suicide looks and feels like for her.

The actress sat down with Good Morning America's Robin Roberts to tell her about the many different emotions she experiences when she thinks about Alexander—the joy, the sadness, the reminiscence, the guilt, the anger.

King also discussed her experience of witnessing Alexander's difficulties with mental health, and of deeply understanding him as his mother.

"When it comes to depression, people expect it to look a certain way. And they expect it to look heavy," she told Roberts.

"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, you know—that 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, "I was so angry with God, you know, that—why would that weight be given to Ian, of all of the things that we had gone through, with the therapy, psychiatrists and programs, and he just—Ian was like, 'I'm tired of talking, Mom.' 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 emotion that comes with that—I can't do that if I did not respect the journey."

Some days, King feels guilt over the things Alexander dealt with in his lifetime.

"Sometimes, a lot of guilt comes over me," she shared. "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. 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."

Regina King and son Ian Alexander Jr

Regina King with her son Ian Alexander Jr. in 2007.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Alexander died in January 2022, just days after his 26th birthday, as reported by People.

At the time, King said in a statement, "Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian. 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."

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please reach out to the NAMI Helpline for support or visit Mental Health America.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.