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Katherine Lemon Clark and Don Lemon | Source: Getty Images
Katherine Lemon Clark and Don Lemon | Source: Getty Images

5 Facts about Katherine Lemon Clark, Don Lemon's Mother

Milla Sigaba
Mar 08, 2023
08:57 A.M.

Don Lemon's mother, Katherine Lemon Clark, has not only been supportive of her son's career and but his sexuality as well after the news anchor came out to her 15 years before he came out publicly.

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Since welcoming Don in 1966, Katherine and her son have shared a close relationship. The news anchor regularly takes to social media to celebrate his mother on special occasions and revealed that Katherine had been their family's go-to for advice, a laugh, a cry, a hug, and the occasional beer.

In 2020, Katherine joined her son on his podcast, "Silence is Not an Option," where she spoke about the portrayal of black people in movies and joined her son on CNN to share their emotional journey to Africa in search of their roots.

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Katherine Was Reportedly Married While in a Relationship with Don Lemon's Father

When Katherine welcomed her son on March 1, 1966, she was married to another man during her relationship with Don's father, Wilmon Richardson. Don's father was also married to another woman; however, Katherine reportedly left her husband as he "wasn't treating her right."

Don was born with his mother's then-husband's last name and was five years old when he learned Wilmon was his biological dad. In May 2021, Katherine's son took to Instagram to honor her late husband on his birthday, who Don said raised him following Wilmon's passing. Don wrote:

"Happy heavenly birthday to my handsome dad, who raised me as his own after the death of my father. I got very lucky when you married my mom in 1977. I love you, dad and think of you everyday. He would have been 98 years old today."

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In 2019, Don shared another throwback of his stepfather circa 1994 and captioned the post, in part, "Old school dad swag." Kathrine and her former husband raised Don and his siblings in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Katherine Is a Very Progressive Woman

Although she is from an older generation, Katherine joined millions of people when she created an Instagram account and uploaded her first post of Michelle Obama in 2019.

She has since shared an additional three posts and had over four hundred followers at the time of writing. On January 23, 2023, Katherine posted a video of herself in the crowd during an episode of "The View," co-hosted by Whoopi Goldberg.

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Katherine Supported Her Son When He Came Out to Her

In 2011, Katherine's son opened up about his sexuality during a New York Times profile and publicly came out as gay. Don said:

"I've learned that only once you come out, once you see the world from that perspective, then you get to be, 'What was I worried about?'"

However, 15 years before that, he first came out as gay to Katherine. Her son had relocated to New York in the mid-90s, where he hoped to be around other like-minded people and was living with his first boyfriend.

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After they broke up, Katherine sensed her son's unhappiness from miles away. "So I told her, 'Mom, I'm really sad about John and our relationship,'" Don recalled. After Katherine asked him about the nature of his relationship with John, Don confirmed that he was gay and told her John had been his lover.

Katherine revealed to her son she had ignored the speculation that he was gay over the years and loved him unconditionally regardless. However, she still had her fears.

"She was okay with it for a while. But as I became stronger, she became weaker," Don said. As he hoped for a family one day, Katherine worried about her son's well-being. However, Katherine's worries were eased after meeting his friends and learning about her son's lifestyle. Don shared:

"...She really started to accept it. She realized that all [her fears] weren't true, and she was building that up in her head."

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In 2020, Katherine's son was engaged to real estate executive Tim Malone—who joined her in the crowd while watching "The View"—and the partners lived together with their three dogs.

The news anchor revealed that they enjoyed renting motorhomes while on vacation and doing something Don never thought he would enjoy—camping.

Katherine Speaks about Her Roots

In 2020, Katherine joined her son on his podcast, "Silence is Not an Option," and spoke about her dissatisfaction with the portrayal of black people in movies.

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"What I didn't like is why we always had to be Uncle and Mammy in movies. We always had the name, Uncle and Mammy. Uncle who? Who's Mammy? I ain't none of your mammy," she said.

She added that the roles black people received and how they were "played down" had always bothered her. "I often wondered why we didn't have people of color or somebody that represented me," Katherine shared.

Katherine also joined her son on the CNN stage to share about their "troublesome" yet "amazing" trip to Africa in search of their roots. During an emotional interview, Katherine said:

"... We were there to return as part of our ancestors. We made that journey there, and they came back. It was an amazing trip that I will never, ever forget."

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Katherine Lost One of Her Children

Don's two siblings include his sisters Yma and Leisa, the latter of whom died on January 31, 2018, after drowning during a fishing accident in Denham Springs, Louisianna.

On February 1, 2018, Don took to Twitter and wrote, "Thanks, everyone, for your words of sympathy. Please keep my family in your prayers. Leisa was my oldest sister & partner in crime growing up. Always had my back. #RIPbigSis."

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