Jimmy Kimmel Gets Choked up Interviewing Regina King for First Time Since Her Son's Death

The late-night talk show host held back tears.

Jimmy Kimmel and Regina King shared a touching moment together during the Oscar-winning actress' appearance on his late-night talk show to promote her new film, Shirley. Kimmel became emotional seeing King for the first time since the death of her only child, her son, Ian Jr., who died in January 2022 of a reported suicide. He was 26-years-old. "It's very good to see you. How are you doing right now?" Kimmel asked. "Right now, I'm good," King replied smiling. "Good, I'm glad to hear that," Kimmel replied, fighting back tears. "I know you've been through a lot the last year." King reached out to hold Kimmel's hand, replying, "It's good to see you Jimmy." 

In her first interview about life since her son's death, King spoke with Robin Roberts on Good Morning America days before her chat with Kimmel. She noted it would be her only time speaking in depth about Ian's death in that way.

"I'm a different person now, than I was then on Jan. 19," King said. "Grief is a journey, you know? I understand that grief is love that has no place to go, and that we all handle it differently. I know that it's important for me to honor Ian and the totality of who he is," King said, adding that she prefers to "speak about him in the present, because he's always with me." 

King spoke about Ian's private mental health struggles. "When it comes to depression, people expect it to look a certain way and they expect it to look heavy," she said. "To have to experience this and not be able to have the time to just sit with Ian's choice, which I respect and understand, that he didn't want to be here anymore -- that's a hard thing for people to receive because they did not live our experience. They did not live Ian's journey." 

During one poignant moment, King spoke of having to accept Ian's decision. "All of the things that we had gone through, the therapy, psychiatrists and programs and he just, Ian was like, 'I'm tired of talking, Mom,'" she recalled. "My favorite thing about myself is being Ian's mom and I can't say that with a smile, with tears, with all of the emotions that come with that, I can't do that if I did not respect the journey. When a parent loses a child, you still wonder what could I have done so that wouldn't have happened," she admitted. "I know that I share this grief with everyone, but no one else is Ian's mom. Only me. And so, it's mine and the sadness will never go away. It will always be with me, and I think I saw somewhere, 'The sadness is a reminder of how much he means to me.'"