As Jennifer Hudson marks her 41st birthday, she’s got quite a bit to celebrate. Her new talk show, The Jennifer Hudson Show, debuted on her special day. She’s now an official member of the very small group of EGOT winners. And despite not winning American Idol in 2004, she’s had a lasting, successful career that even many of the show’s winners haven’t been lucky enough to make happen. Not to mention, the girl can still sing any song you throw her way in an unbelievable way.
But there’s no greater gift to celebrate for Hudson than her son, David Otunga, Jr (or as she calls him, “munch”). The now 13-year-old has been a consistent presence with his famous mom, including on talk shows, red carpets and courtside at NBA games. They even make music together!
Hudson has been open about how being a mom to David changed her, including at one of the darkest times in her life, which was after the loss of her own mother, as well as her brother and nephew.
“I went from being an aunt, having a mom, and being a child to not having a mom, becoming a mom, and raising my own child,” she told Glamour in 2015. “I tell David all the time, ‘You saved my life.'”
Now that he’s no longer a little boy, Hudson, like most parents, is just hoping time doesn’t fly too fast.
“This has been the hardest thing for me, watching him grow up,” she told Parents magazine when he was 10. “When he was tiny, I was his world and now he has his own schedule and the things he wants to do. ‘Mommy, I want to play with kids.’ Or, ‘Mommy I want go to so-and-so’s house.’ Or he will just go off any play by himself. I’m always left standing saying, ‘What about mommy?’ It is going way too fast for me.”
In honor of the beauty’s birthday, we thought we’d celebrate it by checking out sweet photos, past and present, of the EGOT winner and her favorite fella, her son.
Mother and son were all smiles at the ESSENCE Black Women in Hollywood luncheon back in 2011. It was our fourth year hosting the event!
David Jr. proved he knows his way around a microphone too while crashing his mom’s interview on “The View.”
Lou Rocco/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images
Munch was by his mom’s side, or more so, on her lap, at an event for SELF magazine in 2011.
Mark Von Holden/WireImage
A jet-setting mother and son! The two were photographed arriving off a flight to Japan.
Jennifer and David Jr. share a quiet, candid moment as she rehearses to perform for CBS’s “The Early Show.”
The two were photographed at the We Day at Air Canada Centre in 2012.
The beauty dressed up as Princess Tiana for a Disney “Dream Portrait” session. During a break, she took time to bond with her little guy.
Scott Brinegar/Disney Parks via Getty Images
The star was beaming with her boy when she posed at her Star ceremony, celebrating getting honored with her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Frank Trapper/Corbis via Getty Images
David Jr. was the star of the show when he was his mom’s date to the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in 2015.
The two were camera ready at the premiere for ‘Sing’ in Los Angeles in 2016.
David (almost) got a colorful kiss from JHud at The Voice UK final in 2017.
Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/Getty Images
Hudson was a proud mom, posing with David Jr. at the NBCUniversal Upfront event in 2017.
Mother and son got glammed up for the premiere of her film “Respect,” an Aretha Franklin biopic with a much talked about performance from Hudson.