Regina King's late son Ian Alexander Jr. had a deep respect for his mom's artistry and what she's achieved in her career.
In a 2018 interview with PEOPLE, the 51-year-old actress talked about how Alexander Jr., who died by suicide on Jan. 19 at age 26, admired what went into "honing" her craft.
Speaking to PEOPLE at the time, the actress talked about the awards buzz she was receiving for If Beale Street Could Talk. She would later go on to earn a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in 2009 for the Barry Jenkins-directed film.
"I've been able to enjoy each moment as it's happening. I think maybe being 47 and this is happening, maybe I'm appreciating it more. My son is 25, 26, so you know, I got to grow with my son, so now he's old enough to have had witnessed the work put in and the choices that I made — or didn't make — because I'm a mom," King said.
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She continued, "I think it's even more fantastic that he's at the age that he is while this happening with me — to understand all that goes into honing your craft, what goes into being diligent when it comes to what you love. I think one of the most difficult things, especially for this new generation, even exercising the self-discipline to do the things you love is a conscious effort. I feel like my son has really been able to witness that because he's older."
Alexander Jr., a deejay, was King's only child. The actress shared him with her ex-husband, record producer Ian Alexander Sr.
During the 2018 interview, she also spoke about being a single mother in Hollywood and the support she's had over the years.
"I've always had the support of his father, my sister, one of my girlfriends. We have a little village. I made the choice early on when he was in his 5th-grade year, to only do things in L.A. so that helped me not miss games and things like that," she said.
"I would have a call [at six a.m.] but I would get off at five [p.m.] or three [p.m.] so I could still cook dinner and have a life," she recounted. "The universe has just been looking out of me. I can't say it was any one thing. I was a series of fortunate events and beautiful people and they're still around me part of the village. It's a village."
At the time of her son's death, King released a statement to PEOPLE on his suicide asking for privacy as she grieves the loss.
"Our family is devastated at the deepest level by the loss of Ian," said King in the statement.
"He is such a bright light who cared so deeply about the happiness of others. Our family asks for respectful consideration during this private time. Thank you."
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.