June 30, 2010 / 4:02 AM / 9 years ago

Jennifer Hudson says family murders "surreal"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Oscar-winning actress Jennifer Hudson broke down as she spoke for the first time publicly about the murders of her mother, brother and nephew.

The one-time “American Idol” contestant, who went on to win an Academy Award three years ago for a supporting role in her feature debut “Dreamgirls,” said the 2008 triple-slaying was “surreal.”

“It’s all a blur. It was surreal,” she said during an episode of U.S. cable channel VH1’s documentary series “Behind the Music” broadcast on Monday. “It was like I was outside of myself.”

The bodies of Hudson’s 57-year-old mother Darnell Donerson and 29-year-old brother Jason Hudson were discovered inside the home where Hudson grew up in Chicago. Her 7-year-old nephew Julian King was later found dead in a vehicle.

All three had been shot. William Balfour, the estranged husband of Hudson’s sister Julia, has been charged with the murders.

Hudson, now 28, disappeared from the spotlight for a few months after the murders, recalling that for two weeks she basically stayed in one room with family and friends.

“I prayed when I’d get up in the morning and prayed before I laid down at night,” she said.

Not long after the murder, Hudson got engaged to David Otunga which whom she had a son last August. Her debut self-titled album went on to win a Grammy award.

She said she knew she needed to get her life back on track.

“In so many ways I channel (my mother) because she was such a great mom,” said adding that her son “makes me feel like the most special person on earth. I want him to get the same love and the same upbringing my mother gave us.”

Writing by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Dean Goodman

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