In 2004, the onetime Disney cruise-line employee from the Southside of Chicago sang her way to seventh place on American Idol; less than three years later, she was an Oscar winning, Hollywood-sweeping Dreamgirl. Then, in October of 2008, her mother, brother, and young nephew were brutally murdered by her sister's estranged husband, and she retreated entirely from the public eye, sequestering herself until February 2009, when she emerged to perform an soaring rendition of the Star Spangled BannerÂ at Super Bowl XLII.
Through it all, he 28-year-old singer, actress, and mother of 10-month-old David Daniel Otunga Jr. has been famously, understandably reticent to discuss her personal tragedy in the press, but on last night's Behind the Music: Jennifer Hudson, she addressed it frankly: It's all a blur, it was surreal,Â she says of the immediate aftermath of the killings. 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. I prayed when I'd get up in the morning and prayed before I laid down at night.Â
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