A teary-eyed Jennifer Hudson recently opened up and shared how she was able to overcome the loss of her mother, brother and nephew.
"The support was so surreal,” she said. “I love to see people come together. When I tell you, everybody—strangers, my fans—I was literally lifted up by love,” Jennifer told NBC’s “Dateline” about the encouragement she received from friends and fans after the brutal murder of her family members.
Only months after her relatives were killed, Jennifer performed the National Anthem at the Super Bowl and sang “You Pulled Me Through” at the Grammy Awards.
“I could either sit here and mope around or do what I know would make them proud, and that’s what I did,” Jennifer said when explaining her decision to return to performing for the Super Bowl.
Jennifer and her sister, whose son was lost in the 2008 tragedy, continue to think of ways to make their deceased loved ones proud. This past Christmas, the two distributed toys to children in Chicago through a foundation they organized in memory of Jennifer’s nephew.
“He was such a bright little boy. He was so smart,” she said before pausing to regain her composure. “We just started the Julian D. King Foundation… I was like, ‘How can we turn something so sad into something beautiful?’”
The sisters hosted a dinner for 50 children and gave away gifts to hundreds of kids on Christmas Eve.
Through her loss, Jennifer said she’s learned to appreciate life more.
“We can’t take anything for granted. I feel like I’ve seen the highest of the highs and the lowest of the lows,” she said. “We never embrace now. So, we should live in right now ‘cause you never know whose last moment that may be,” she said.
Now, the singer and mother is living in the moment of wedding planning, as she prepares to walk down the aisle with fiancé David Otunga.
“He decided to propose on my birthday. I remember him telling me, ‘Put on your favorite dress,’” she recalled, describing how he compiled specific songs for their ride to the beach.
“He had birthday cards. On each card, it threw another hint and another hint,” she said. The last card instructed her to turn around and there he was ready to pop the question.
While Jennifer won’t disclose the date of her wedding, she did share that more children might be on the way.
“I feel like I have to dream up new dreams and new goals for myself,” she said. “I only want two kids … or three. I wouldn’t mind adopting one. I really want a little girl. So, that’s one of my new dreams,” she said.
Watch a clip from the "Dateline" interview below.
—Tracy L. Scott