By Samantha Cooney
September 8, 2016
MOTTO
Samantha Cooney is the content strategy editor at TIME.

Empire star Taraji P. Henson opened up about the challenges of raising her son alone in the latest issue of Redbook magazine.

Henson, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, raised her son Marcell, now 22, alone after his father, Henson’s high-school sweetheart, was murdered in 2003. The magazine asked Henson about how she dealt with the pressure of balance her career and single motherhood.

“I think we try to do our best. And yes, we can do it all, but I wouldn’t wish being a single parent on my worst enemy,” Henson told Redbook. “It is not easy.”

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Henson found out she was pregnant when she was a junior at Howard, but still finished her degree after giving birth. Then, she moved to Los Angeles with her son to pursue an acting career even though she was struggling financially. She told Redbook that she didn’t want to shelter her son so he would be prepared to face life’s challenges head on.

“These days we’re so busy protecting our kids, when we really should be pulling back the blinds and showing them that we live in a world that’s not always fair and moral. Sometimes we try to protect our children so much that when something doesn’t go right in their lives, they’re unprepared to deal with adversity,” she told the magazine. “I don’t think that does our kids any favors.”

She also explained that she didn’t want to get married unless she found someone she truly loved.

“I wanted [my son] Marcell to see that real kind of love — the kind I yearn for,” she said. “I know that kind of love exists and I’m not going to stop until I have that.”

Read the full story on Redbook.

Write to Samantha Cooney at samantha.cooney@time.com.

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