Why Regina King Was Mad at Ex-Husband as Well as Her Dad Who Got Really Sick

Regina King grew up hating her absentee father and yet managed to tend to him when he was seriously ill. Her story of disappointment and regret is detailed in an essay she penned about living a life without a father. 

Regina King is an accomplished actress with 30 years of acting experience tucked under her belt. But while she sits in the throne of success after recently bagging three acting awards including her first Oscar for her role in “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Regina has a painful past that remains ingrained in her. One that involves her father's absence in her life.  

HER FIRST HEARTBREAK

At the young age of eight, Regina experienced her first heartbreak in the hands of her father, Thomas. Her old man abandoned their family leaving her mother, Gloria to tend to her and her sister Reina. 

“I never knew what went wrong, but after seven years, their relationship had reached a level where they were constantly arguing.”

Gloria was a special education teacher who encouraged her daughters to follow their dreams. Much like Regina’s protective mother role as Sharon Rivers in “Beale Street”, her mother gave her security. In fact, she singled her out and thanked her during her Academy Awards acceptance speech. This didn’t erase the fact, though, that Regina harbored deep-seated grudge towards her father. 

ON WHY HER FATHER LEFT

In 2017, Regina opened up about this in an essay she penned for the book, ““He Never Came Home: Interviews, Stories, and Essays from Daughters on Life Without Their Fathers.” Regina dug into her painful past and recalled how her parents split without her really knowing why.

“I never knew what went wrong, but after seven years, their relationship had reached a level where they were constantly arguing.”

She adds

“There was a lot of door-slamming going on, too, and it was hard not to notice my dad sleeping in the living room… The tension was thick, and I was so embarrassed by the thought of everybody in the neighborhood knowing, or at least hearing, what was going on in our house."

“I was more disappointed and even more hurt when my father seemed to just drift out of our lives,”

Regina would later realize her father was largely to blame so she began to develop feelings of resentment towards him.

“I was more disappointed and even more hurt when my father seemed to just drift out of our lives,” she said. “I only realized much later that the divorce really had little to do with that. It had more to do with who he was as a man.”

"There were times when I thought, 'You weren’t there for me for so long and now I’ve got to take care of you?'"

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Hey hey hey...happy emmy day!

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LIFE WITHOUT A FATHER

As a teen, Regina still secretly wished she would have a closer relationship with her father even after he re-married to a woman just five years older than her. And later as an adult, despite their lack of closeness, she still cared for him when he suffered from Parkinson’s disease. Regina questioned why she even bothered considering the way her father treated her in the past. 

“I loved my dad and did all that I could to make sure he had the best care, but I also felt some resentment about the situation. There were times when I thought, 'You weren’t there for me for so long and now I’ve got to take care of you?'"

However, Regina sensed her father had regrets, much as she did. “I could see it in his face,” she recalled. 

“It was such a stressful time in my life, and although I was thankful to have my mother by my side, I also wished I could have been able to pick up the phone and talk to my dad,”

LIVING WITH REGRET

One of Regina’s biggest regrets was not having a father she could talk to when she needed one most. This was during the time she was having problems with her husband, Ian Alexander.

“It was such a stressful time in my life, and although I was thankful to have my mother by my side, I also wished I could have been able to pick up the phone and talk to my dad,” she shares in the essay. Thomas had been too ill by then. 

Sometimes when I catch him doing or saying something that reminds me of his dad, my heart just smiles because I know that he’ll never feel disconnected from his father as I did with mine.

BREAKING THE CYCLE

Regina and Ian divorced after nine years of marriage. Much like her parents, the actress recalled fighting in front of their son, Ian Alexander Jr. and she felt terrible subjecting him to the same thing she was forced to witness in her distant past. Luckily for her, she and Ian managed to become friends later, something their son appreciates today.

“I’m just glad that we all made it to the other side. We’ve redefined what it means to be a family, our family, and we’re all better for it,” she laments.

Regina is also happy her son has a good relationship with his own father, in contrast to her.

“It’s such a blessing to see that Ian has a father who is there for him, no matter what. Sometimes when I catch him doing or saying something that reminds me of his dad, my heart just smiles because I know that he’ll never feel disconnected from his father as I did with mine. That makes it all worth it.”

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yep! Best date goes to...@buttercreammojave ! #DGA

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UNCONDITIONAL

Today, Regina is a doting mom to the young man. Their closeness is evident in the matching tattoos they share which mean unconditional love in Aramaic. It was a result of Kaballah classes they took together. Regina is proud of the bond she has with him. In fact, she told CNN that the greatest part about her is "being a mom to Ian."

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