If your heart has been heavy since this weekend’s heartbreaking news of Regina King’s son Ian Alexander Jr.’s death by suicide, you’re not alone. Plenty of people, from famous friends in the industry to everyday fans who’ve watched the actress since she was a teenager on 227 have been thinking of the star and wondering how she’s holding up with the immense loss. Her friend, fellow actress Vivica A. Fox, offered an update after visiting with King this weekend to let everyone know she’s surrounded by love and support.
“I was with Regina last night and she’s ok,” Fox shared on her Fox Soul series Cocktails With Queens. “I was able to hug her. I got a text saying Regina wants to see you and I made a u-turn and immediately headed there. I didn’t think about where am I going, what am I doing. I just had to go see my friend, my sister. On the way there I had to call and ask people, ‘What do you say? I’m scared. I don’t want to say something wrong.'”
When she got there, she said King was holding up well, but Fox, tearing up on the show, says she has been falling apart since.
“She’s so strong,” she said. “More than anything else, I’m glad I got to hug her. I’m glad I got to look in her eyes. This has been absolutely one of the longest weekends I’ve ever had in my life, it’s like I can’t stop crying.”
She added, “She’s gotten ya’ll’s texts. The outpouring of love for her, her family, her son, she appreciates it. It’s just hard and I just pray that what we do more than anything else for our sons, for our children — COVID and everything has got everybody in a dark spot, in a dark place. If you see any signs, any signs of someone being in distress, or if somebody reaches out to you that’s just not having a good day, stop, take a moment to make sure that they’re ok.”
Overall, Fox reiterated that King has a lot of family, blood and Hollywood kin, coming to her side right now to be there. She is confident that the Oscar winner will get through this, and hopes that all of us as a community can get through mental health hurdles that have contributed to increasing rates of suicide attempts and deaths.
“She’s surrounded by so much love, y’all. That was the beautiful thing that when I got there, our community is right there for her. If you never ever thought that the African American actresses, actors and talent supports and loves each other, I saw it last night,” she said. “It made me so proud and we’re going to get through this. We’re going to get through this. But she’s ok, and she wanted me to let everyone know that she appreciates the love and the texts. But we will get through this. But as I said, if you see someone in distress, check on them. Check on ’em. We’ve got people every day, I’ve never thought about suicide in our community and how so many people are taking their own lives that don’t want to be here. That’s the scary part. That they’re just deciding to check out. But it’s been eye-opening for me. It really has been. And I’ve been trying to be strong: ‘ooh girl, please don’t shed no tears today,’ but my tears are that I know my friend is ok, y’all. She really is. We’re going to get through this, but we definitely have to start bringing more awareness to mental illness.”
The news of Alexander’s passing came on Saturday, with King sharing a statement with PEOPLE.
“Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian,” she said. “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.”
He was 26 years old.