Taraji P. Henson Breaks Down in Tears As She Recalls Telling Her Son That His Father Was Murdered
By Liz Calvario
Taraji P. Henson is touching on one of her most heartbreaking moments in her life. In a sneak peek at Wednesday's Peace of Mind With Taraji episode, the actress breaks down in tears as she recalls telling her son, Marcell, how his father died.
"My son's father was suddenly taken, murdered, when he was 9, and I didn't know how to tell him that," Henson, 50, tells 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 died when he was 9 years old.
"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?'" she recalls her now 26-year-old son telling her. "And so then we had to get therapy."
The Empire star then asks Hillsman what she suggests other parents do in a situation like hers. Hillsman advised to "use age-appropriate language" and explain that "sometimes there are situations where people do evil things to other people."
"I didn't have the balls. It wouldn't come out. I hid it. I read the, actually…" Henson admits just as she starts to tear up and Jenkins comforts her. "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."
Through their new Facebook Watch series, Henson and her longtime BFF attempt to normalize the stigma surrounding mental health, especially within the Black community. The series, which premiered in December, touches on a wide range of topics and will and has featured appearances by some of their celebrity friends, like Jay Pharoah, Gabrielle Union and Tamar Braxton.
"It's a peace of mind. It's educational, it's an opportunity for us to show you, actually, what it looks like inside of a therapist's room," Henson told ET's Kevin Frazier last month. "[We hear], 'Boy, get over it. Man up! Tough it out, strong Black woman.' These things have been passed down, so to even talk about mental health, how do you do that when you've never talked about it? When it's been taboo?"
"'Pray it away, go talk to your pastor.' Those things that get us into trouble that don't allow us to heal from trauma," she continued. "I mean, think about what we go through as Black people. Police brutality, microaggressions, not being paid equally ... it's a lot. It's a lot to unpack, and we felt like we needed some kind of programming that you didn't have to pay for and makes you feel safe."
Jenkins added that their show is "meant to destigmatize mental illness."