Actress Taraji P. Henson opens up about telling her 9-year-old son his father was killed on an episode of her new talk show, “Peace of Mind with Taraji.”
According to the Huff Post, a preview clip of Wednesday’s episode shows the “Empire” star in tears as she recalls the experience of telling her son, Marcell, that his father had died.
“My son’s father was suddenly taken, murdered when he was 9, and I didn’t know how to tell him that,” Henson told co-host Tracie Jade Jenkins and therapist Sierra Hillsman. “I couldn’t tell him he was murdered, so I told him he died in an accident.”
Marcell’s father and the actor’s ex-boyfriend, William “Mark” Johnson, was stabbed after confronting a couple for slashing his friend’s tires in 2003.
“Later on in life, he found out, and he came back to me and was like, ‘Why didn’t you tell me my daddy was murdered?’ And so then we had to get therapy,” she continued.
The “Hidden Figures” star said she didn’t know how to communicate the details of Johnson’s death to her son, who was very young at the time.
Hillsman advised viewers of the show to “use age-appropriate language” when telling children devastating news and encourages them to let them know, “People do evil things to other people.”
″I didn’t have the balls — it wouldn’t come out,” a tearful Henson replied. “It was in the paper, and I didn’t know how to tell him. He was stabbed to death, it was the worst way you could die.”
“I just didn’t have the words. I didn’t know how to tell a 9-year-old,” Henson added.
Henson released her “Around the Way Girl” memoir in 2016. She discussed her volatile relationship with Johnson, whom she met when she was 17 years old. She also recanted on the physical abuse she endured during their relationship, which ended shortly before his death.
“With that separation, my forever man, my first love, was no more,” she wrote.
Henson’s new show follows the success of Facebook Watch’s “Red Table Talk.” Last month, she launched her new show on the video platform to discuss mental health issues and the Black community. Gabrielle Union, Jay Pharoah, Tamar Braxton, Mary J. Blige, and a slew of other celebrity guests will appear on the show.