Taraji P. Henson Recalls Telling Her Son His Dad Was Murdered: 'I Just Didn't Have the Words'

Ally Mauch
·3 min read

Taraji P. Henson is opening up about an emotionally harrowing moment in her life — figuring out how to tell her 9-year-old son that his father had been murdered.

In PEOPLE's exclusive sneak peek at Wednesday's episode of Peace of Mind with Taraji, the actress sits down with co-host Tracie Jade Jenkins and therapist Sierra Hillsman to discuss the difficult conversation she had to have with her son Marcell, who is now 26.

"My son's father was suddenly taken — murdered — when he was 9, and I didn't know how to tell him that," recalls Henson, 50. "I couldn't tell him he was murdered, so I told him he died in an accident."

"Later on in life he found out and he came back to me and was like, 'Why didn't you tell me my daddy was murdered?' And so then we had to get therapy," she continues, then turning to Hillsman to ask how she would suggest breaking that news to a child.

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"I would definitely say use age-appropriate language, explaining sometimes there are situations where people do evil things to other people — in this situation, somebody killed your father," Hillsman says.

"I didn't have the balls — it wouldn't come out," Henson replies, beginning to break down in tears as she remembers having to read about the murder in the news.

"It was in the paper and I didn't know how to tell him. He was stabbed to death, it was the worst way you could die," the Hidden Figures star says. "I just didn't have the words. I didn't know how to tell a 9-year-old."

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On Facebook Watch's Peace of Mind, Henson and longtime friend Jenkins discuss mental health issues — particularly those in the Black community — with celebrities, experts and everyday people. Each episode focuses on a different mental health topic.

Celebrity guests appear on the Monday episodes, and then Henson and Jenkins sit down with licensed professionals and experts on the Wednesday episodes to dive deeper into the previous guest's conversations to offer helpful techniques and tools.

"I've long been a mental health advocate for the Black community and created the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation in 2018 that has provided resources to thousands of people who are struggling," Henson previously said in a statement about the show. "I'm looking forward to bringing this new talk series to Facebook Watch, where I can continue to create conversation around an issue that is near and dear to my heart."

New episodes of Peace of Mind with Taraji drop every Monday and Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET on Facebook Watch.