Jennifer Hudson: I've Forgiven My Family's Murderer

The singer opens up about the man who killed her mother, brother and nephew: "I feel like, for the most part, it's not his fault"

The man responsible for the murder of Jennifer Hudson's mother, brother and nephew is behind bars for good. And now the American Idol finalist is working on forgiving him.

It's been just about five months since William Balfour (the ex-husband of her sister Julia) was sentenced to life in prison three times after being found guilty of the deaths of Hudson's family members. In an interview for Oprah's Next Chapter conducted on Aug. 14 -- what would have been her nephew Julian King's 11th birthday -- Hudson opened up to Oprah Winfrey about her experiences coming to terms with her former brother-in-law's actions.

"I feel like, for the most part, it's not his fault. It's what he was taught. How was brought up. We tried to offer love, but he was so far gone, he couldn't even see that. A lot of things came out [during the trial] that we didn't even know about from his upbringing... He never had a chance. He never had a chance," Hudson says in the interview, which aired Sept. 9. "Had he had the love that my mother gave us, or the background that some have, then he would have stood a chance. How could your heart not go out to that?"

With that being said, she holds him "very responsible" for the deaths of those closest to her. "I'm not letting him off the hook for anything," the 30-year-old says.

On Oct. 24, 2008, Balfour went on a supposed jealous rampage that ended in the murders of Hudson's 57-year-old mother Darnell Donerson, 29-year-old brother Jason Hudson and 7-year-old nephew Julian King. Now, almost four years after their deaths, she feels like she has finally done them justice.

"I haven't been to the grave site since we buried them, but now I want to go because I feel like, 'Okay, we've accomplished this. We've done this. We got justice for you. We can't come back here empty handed,'" says Hudson, who testified at Balfour's trial. "So now I feel like I deserve to be able to see them."

Still, Hudson will be haunted for the rest of her life about ways she could have seen this coming.

"I remember one time when William had an argument with my sister," she recalls. "They had split up he went up to her job and he told her, 'I'm gonna take Julian.' And Julian went home and told my mother, and my mother said, 'Over my dead baby.' That's exactly what happened."

When Hudson visited Dateline earlier this year, she discussed for the first time since the murders the way the tragic death of her family has changed her outlook for the better.

"I was thinking the other day, wow, we never sit and stop to tell someone 'I love you' or 'I appreciate you,' and in the blink of an eye they could be gone," Hudson said. "So live in the moment, and then when it is time to pick on, you have no choice but to. You have to. That's called life."

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