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Jennifer Hudson opens up about new beginnings with son David as they prepare for big change

The The Jennifer Hudson Show host's son turns 14 in August and starts highschool this year


Jennifer Hudson and her son David Otunga Jr. sit side by side at Lakers game
Beatriz Colon
Beatriz Colon - New York
New York WriterNew York
3 August 2023
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Jennifer Hudson is headed into a new era, and so is her son, who is officially an incoming high school freshman in just a few weeks.

The talk show host's son David, who will be 14 years old next week, is headed back to school just as she makes her return to television with the second season of her eponymous talk show.

When David graduated from eighth grade earlier this summer, his mom made sure to celebrate him with loads of pictures of the milestone on Instagram, and he really is so grown up already.

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Now, speaking with Real Simple as their new cover star, Jennifer opened up about the exciting month ahead for her and her son, as well as what it means for her to be raising a Black teenager.

"David and I joke that we’re both starting a new school year!" she said, adding: "My son has a busy schedule, and I love to be there for him, so I'm learning how to juggle this newness."

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She continued: "It used to be I'd hold your hand and take you to the park. Now it's like, 'How do I mother you?' Figuring that out. And how do we exist in this new space?"

Jennifer Hudson and David Otunga Jr. attend a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Chicago Bulls at Crypto.com Arena© Getty
The mother-son duo at a basket ball game earlier this year

Plus, when it comes to raising a Black child, she explained: "My son goes to a predominantly white school, and he has giant hair, a whole afro. He loves to walk in there with the big old 'fro and the pick in his hair." Jennifer's main residence is in Burr Ridge, Illinois, though her talk show films in Los Angeles.

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Jennifer then said: "I'm like, "Do you realize the statement you're making? Know that just wearing your hair like that is a statement alone," though she added: "He's very rooted in who he is and OK with that."

Photo shared by Jennifer Hudson with her son David on the occasion of his middle school graduation on June 2023© Instagram
David graduated high school in June

She continued: "Being a mom of a Black son, you have to make him conscious of and aware of certain things – who he is within the world. And there's so many layers he has to learn!

"But he's at an age where he can fully understand it. And he's so evolved beyond what I could ever imagine."

Photo shared by Jennifer Hudson with her son David on the occasion of his middle school graduation on June 2023© Instagram
The incoming high school freshman already looks so grown up

Further gushing about her son, she went on: "Well, I'm blessed – he's a good kid. As all my boys know, you got to know how to act and behave. The more responsible you show to be, then the more you're allowed to do."

MORE: Jennifer Hudson poses in ab-baring look as she reflects on emotional milestone

Jennifer Hudson at the 43rd NAACP Image Awards© Getty
Jennifer shares her son with ex-fiancé David Otunga

She added: "For little David, my biggest thing is getting his priorities in order. Knowing education comes first, clean your room, and help take care of home. Learn how to help out and contribute. Those are things that he is learning."

David is Jennifer's only son with former fiancé David Otunga, a professional wrestler in the WWE and Harvard Law graduate. The former couple first became engaged in 2008, and a year later welcomed David Jr. They split in November 2017.

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