Like so many parents right now, Katherine Heigl is struggling with how to address racial injustice and the murder of George Floyd with her three young children—particularly her 7-year-old daughter, Adalaide, whom she adopted with her husband, Josh Kelley, in 2012. In a series of rare Instagram posts, Heigl opened up about her experiences and why she debated entering the global conversation about racism on social media.
She began by sharing a photo of Adalaide and writing in her caption, “I don’t typically use my platform or social media to say much when it comes to the state of our country. I keep most of those thoughts to myself. I act quietly and behind the scenes. I let those with far more experience, education, and eloquence be the voices for change.”
However, she was motivated to speak after being kept awake at night, worrying about how to explain Floyd’s murder to her daughter.
“How will I tell Adalaide? How will I explain the unexplainable? How can I protect her? How can I break a piece of her beautiful divine spirit to do so? I can’t sleep,” Heigl wrote.
“I lay in my bed in the dark and weep for every mother of a beautiful divine black child who has to extinguish a piece of their beloved baby’s spirit to try to keep them alive in a country that has too many sleeping soundly,” she continued in her caption.
Admitting that she’s largely lived in a “white bubble,” she feels that her multiracial family has been shielded from the reality of racism.
“Because I have a black daughter. Because I have a Korean daughter. Because I have a Korean sister and nephews and niece. It has taken me far too long to truly internalize the reality of the abhorrent, evil despicable truth of racism,” she wrote. “My whiteness kept it from me. My upbringing of inclusivity, love, and compassion seemed normal.”
She added that she “couldn’t imagine a brain that saw the color of someone’s skin as anything but that,” writing, “I was naive. I was childish.”
In addition to Adelaide, Heigl and Kelley have an 11-year-old daughter named Naleigh and a 3-year-old son, Joshua.
But like so many people around the globe, Heigel’s feelings of fear and worry have turned “to something else,” she wrote, adding, “The sorrow warms and then bursts into flames of rage.”
The Suits star hopes for justice for those who experience racism, including Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. And she hopes that “Officer Chauvin and the others who just stood there” face “painful, irrevocable consequence.”
“There may have been a time when I cared to try to change the mind of a racist,” Heigel wrote in her second post. “To show them through example and just the right words they are wrong. I don’t care anymore. For their hearts or minds or souls. I don’t care if they die with their ugliness stamped all over them.”
Surely her fears, anger, and sadness are felt by so many fellow parents coping with explaining the situation to their own children, and we appreciate her honesty in sharing her raw and vulnerable thoughts.