Nearly half a year after her mother, brother, and nephew were found slain, singer and actress Jennifer Hudson is stepping back into the spotlight.
But she still doesn’t talk about the murders – not even with those closest to her.
"She's okay as long as people don't bring it up. She's trying to put all of that behind her,” childhood friend and longtime assistant Walter Williams III told Entertainment Weekly.
It was on Oct. 24, 2008, that Darnell Hudson Donerson, 57, and Jason Hudson, 29, were found shot to death. The body of Julian King, 7, was later found in an abandoned SUV.
Charged for the deaths was Hudson's estranged brother-in-law, William Balfour, who has pleaded not guilty.
Since the tragedy, Hudson spent much of her time with her family and setting up a new foundation for families of murder victims.
Her first public appearance didn’t happen until February, when she used pop culture's grandest stage - the Super Bowl - to make her return to the spotlight. She later performed at the Academy Awards, singing “You Pulled Me Through,” a ballad about being rescued from darkness and deep despair.
"She was singing to God," Williams told EW for a feature based on their exclusive interview with Hudson. "God pulled her through."
Though Williams said Hudson is still hurting, he also testified to her strength.
“[S]he's a strong girl, and she knows her family is in a better place,” he reported. “I really think she's going to be okay.'
Just a week after the tragedy, Hudson and her sister set up the Hudson-King Foundation for Families of Slain Victims, which will provide counseling and other needs for families who lost a loved one to a violent crime.
Hudson has often credited her rise to fame to her upbringing in the impoverished neighborhood on Chicago's South Side where she went to grade school and sang in church.
In the interview with EW, Hudson also credited the Church for helping her stay balanced.
“Too often we look at things through human eyes. But when you look at the world spiritually, it makes far more sense. I don't think I would be here without it,'' she said.
Hudson is currently on tour with Robin Thicke and has dates lined up to May 15. After the tour, Hudson hopes to enter the recording studio again.