Loved & Lost: Celebs Who’ve Dealt With The Passing of a Parent
By N’neka Hite
The feeling that follows the news of a loved one lost is a memory that you carry for the rest of your life. Whether it was a chilling phone call, word of mouth, or a news headline, your mind is paralyzed and time stands still. Life transcends the mind and body into a new dimension. The desire to eat or sleep are nonexistent. The world around you for that period in time is frozen as emptiness consumes you.
Loving and losing is life’s way of awakening the spirit, but to suffer the loss of one who has given you life is a blow that is the most difficult to recover from. How do you say goodbye to a parent? Words cannot express the impact of emptiness, confusion and sorrow. We’ve watched celebrities we love go through this troubling time. While some have found strength, others were broken down to their core. Some recover, some go completely left, while others are inspired by the influence their first true love had on their life and express it through their artistry.
Reports surfaced immediately after the announcement of Houston’s death detailing the gut-wrenching pain that Bobbi K. began to endure as the news of her mother’s passing hit the web, television and radio. They described the 18-year-old as being inconsolable and having breathing complications resulting in her being hospitalized twice in less than 48-hours.
Losing your mom at such a tender age…words cannot express our love for you Bobbi K.
Father Julius Rock | 1988
Just as Christopher Julius Rock III saw his career takeoff, his father Julius Rock passed away in 1988 after undergoing ulcer surgery.
In a 1997 interview with the Herald-Journal Rock said, had he not come to grips with his grief over the death of his father, his professional and personal success wouldn’t have been possible.
“I guess I went into a shell. I mean, I’m kind of still in that shell…I don’t know, I was just in maintain mode after my dad died. I’m still not over it. Just…time passes and…some people drink, some people get high I just hung out and chased girls.”
His success continued in movies and stand-up, even hosting the 77th Academy Awards in 2005, but he and his family suffered tremendously behind the loss of his father.
“We cried a lot the first few years,” Rock’s mother Rose says. “Every time Chris would do something he would come off stage and say: ‘I wonder did daddy see that?’ Even at the Academy Awards, it was like ‘Do you think he saw?”
It’s clear that Chris’ success is fueled by making his father proud. Decades later he’s still pushing. We’re all looking forward to the Rock x Chappelle mega tour supposedly in the works. Only time will tell.
All of hip-hop grieved with Yeezie when his mother Donda West suffered an untimely death due to complications from plastic surgery in 2007. We watched him go through a public meltdown at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards, followed by a series of other headlines that supported the notion that the rapper was going through it.
“Losing my mom, having no woman in my life to support me — I feel like I’m on my own and can only express it through my music.”
West references his mom on every album, but the burden of guilt still plagues him.
“I feel like I moved to California, then my mom moved to California, and she did stuff she wouldn’t have done if we’d stayed in Chicago,” he said. “If I’d never made it in the music business, it never would’ve happened.”
Five years later, we finally see some signs of him healing and becoming, truly one of the greatest stars of his time. He took to Twitter last month to announce his new design company, simply named, Donda.
Father Pop Brown | December 2011
Mother Carole Brown | January 2011
The breakout star on the hit reality show “Being Bobby Brown,” the comical father, “Pop” Brown succumbed to a long bout with cancer at the end of last year. In January the same year, he lost his mother Carole. Whitney reportedly sang at the funeral. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he has to now stand strong for his daughter while she goes through the same thing.
This year is going to be hard for the King of R&B. Hold ya head Bob.
On his mothers passing: “It is a sad time for me right now. I am experiencing a tremendous loss but I vow to celebrate her life in every way that I can with my entire family.”
Mother Darnell Donerson | October 2008
The news of J. Hud’s mothers murder was a tragedy of epic proportions. Losing not only one, but three family members at one time caused her to fall back, disappearing from the public eye with the support of many celebs, including President Barack Obama. Jennifer has gone on to start her own family, and recently paid tribute to Whitney Houston at the 2012 Grammy Awards singing, “I Will Always Love You.”
“I was always a mama’s baby. I’d go and sleep in her bed until I was 15 years old. The thing that keeps me going, is knowing that God is in control. It’s like, if he placed me here then I must be prepared.”
Father & Mother | 1999 & 2000
After suffering the loss of both parents, one in 1999 and the other a few months later in 2000, Ginuwine spoke publicly about attempting to end his own life. He later wrote a song featured on his album The Life entitled “Two Reasons I Cry” in their memory.
“Anybody that has gone through that understands that you just don’t want to be anymore because it hurts too bad,” he says. “It’s not the fact that you’re mad, it’s just that you’re hurting and no one knows that kind of hurt unless you go through it.”
“After my father shot himself to death and my mother died from cancer less than a year later, I really didn’t want to be here anymore, I didn’t want to live and tried to commit suicide more than once. I turned to drinking and drugs like weed and ecstasy. I was done mentally and emotionally to the point that I had to go see a psychiatrist, but that didn’t do any good because I wasn’t interested… I was depressed and felt like I had nobody to talk to that could relate to me.”
After going through therapy he became a new man and credits his wife, rapper Tonya ‘Sole’ Johnston and his children for helping him to move on with his life.
Marie “Free” Wright
Mother Selina “Tina” Wright | 2009
At the height of her career as an on-camera host for BET’s #1 show “106 & Park” bombshell Marie “Free” Wright watched as her mother Selina lost her fight with cancer. The loss of her mother shook Free at her foundation and we saw her fade from the scene. Now, on the mend, Free is an advocate for breast cancer awareness and has gone on to host radio shows and make guest appearances.
Mother | 2011
Jackie Christie’s eyes welled up with tears during the “Basketball Wives: LA” reunion when she spoke about losing her mother to cancer in September 2011 during an interview on “The Tom Joyner Morning Show” quickly after she had received the news.
“I just lost my mother a few hours ago,” Christie said. “She’s had a long fight with it, and I know she’s in a better place, and it was her time. So, we’re OK with it.”
Christie still shows signs of grief, but is comfortable with the fact that her mother is no longer suffering.
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