Oscar-Winning Actress Jennifer Hudson Discusses Family's 2008 Shooting Deaths

Hudson says family's murder was "complete shock."

ByABC News
February 10, 2011, 11:10 AM

Feb. 10, 2011 — -- A tearful Jennifer Hudson told Oprah Winfrey today that the 2008 shooting deaths of her mother, brother and nephew were a "complete shock."

"It's such a shocking thing and it's a lot to take in," the Oscar-winning actress and singer, 29, said on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

"It's like, OK, is this real? Did this really happen? It's hard to put it in sync with reality."

Hudson's mother, Darnell Donerson, and the singer's brother, Jason Hudson, were found dead Oct. 24, 2008, inside the home they shared with Julia Hudson on Chicago's South Side. Julia Hudson is Jennifer Hudson's older sister.

Julia Hudson's 7-year-old son, Julian King, was found dead, covered in a shower curtain, three days later in the back of Jason Hudson's SUV.

All three suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

William Balfour, the estranged husband of Julia Hudson, has since been arrested and charged with the killings.

Asked by Winfrey how she coped with the tragedy, Hudson broke into tears.

"It's a very emotional subject," she said. "[I got through it because] of my family, my baby and God."

Hudson and fiance David Otunga gave birth to a son, also named David, in August 2009.

"I keep holding on to things that they taught us," Hudson said of her deceased family. "My mother and even my brother -- I can hear him saying to me, 'Just knock it off.'"

"My mother right now would say to me, 'Why are you always crying? Stop crying,'" Hudson said. "You've got to keep going.

"The only thing I can do to honor their memory is to make them proud," Hudson said. "I keep thinking, 'Would my mother like this or that, would she want this?'"

Hudson, who also spoke to Winfrey about her more than 60-pound weight loss as spokeswoman for "Weight Watchers," says she can "only try" to be as good of a mother to her son as her own mother was to her.

In a previous interview with "Vh1's Behind The Music: Jennifer Hudson," the singer spoke about the days immediately after the shootings.

"It's all a blur. It was surreal," Hudson told Vh1. "It was like I was outside of myself. For almost two weeks straight ... [I was] inside one room with just family and friends coming in and out."

Hudson Had the Final Word

"I prayed when I'd get up in the morning and prayed before I laid down at night," she said.

Hudson's first public appearance after the deaths was at the Super Bowl in 2009, when she gave a flawless performance of the national anthem. Later that month, Hudson went on to win a Grammy Award for best R&B album.

Her rise to fame began on Fox's "American Idol," where Hudson was kicked off the show in 2004 when co-judge Simon Cowell declared that she was "out of her league."

But Hudson got the final word. She was lauded for her role in 2006 as Effie in the hit movie "Dreamgirls" and later went on to win the Oscar for best supporting actress.

ABC News' Sheila Marikar contributed to this report.