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One Night In Miami Director Regina King Reveals Her Son Ian Is Dead At 26

Regina King on Watchmen
(Image credit: HBO)

Trigger Warning: This story includes sensitive subject matter that may be hard for some readers.

To many, Regina King is one of Hollywood’s brightest stars, as she’s worked tirelessly as an actress for decades and is now also forging a path for herself as a director, who’s currently set to take on a comics adaptation. However, she’s also been a devoted mother to her son, Ian Alexander Jr. Sadly, it was reported at the end of the week that Alexander had died by suicide at the age of 26. The One Night in Miami director is now speaking out in the wake of the tragic news. 

Regina King released a statement on her son’s passing this past Friday. In the comments, which were obtained by The Today Show, the actress paid emotional tribute to her child:

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.

Ian Alexander Jr. was the Oscar winner’s only child, and she shared him with record producer Ian Alexander, whom she was married to from 1997 to 2007. The star and her son were incredibly close, as the young man would frequently be seen attending award shows with his mom. One of the most notable instances of this was during the 2019 Golden Globes, when he lovingly referred to the Watchmen star as a “super mom” while speaking with E! News:

She’s just a super mom. She doesn’t really let bad work days or anything come back and ruin the time that we have. So it’s really awesome to have a mother who I can enjoy spending time with.

In the past, Regina King has spoken about how her relationship with her son has helped to inform the projects she chooses and how she approaches them, like her social justice roles.  This was especially the case for her Academy Award-winning turn in If Beale Street Could Talk, a film that reminded King of an old TV show. The James Baldwin adaptation, which sees a young Black man (and expectant father) convicted for a crime he did not commit, deeply resonated with King. 

Her decision to take on One Night in Miami also proved to be inspired by her love for her son. The historical drama was a keen examination of the Black man’s experience and featured a number of upstanding, real-life figures (played by a formidable cast of actors). Those who’ve seen the film would surely agree that the director succeeded with the film and that it serves as a true love letter to her son and any young Black man.

Losing someone is never easy, but losing a child is especially difficult for a parent. Through her statement, it seems that Regina King is choosing not to simply mourn her son but to honor his legacy and the man that he was. We here at CinemaBlend extend our deepest condolences to her and her family during this difficult time. 

For any readers who are struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression, know that you are not alone and that there are those who can provide assistance. You can find resources on the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Suicide Prevention Helpline at 800-273-8255.

Erik Swann
Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.