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Jennifer Hudson: From Family Tragedy To Family Way

Lyndsey Parker
Reality Rocks

I can scarcely comprehend how Jennifer Hudson has weathered the ups and down of her life over the past couple years. In a very short span of time, she has experienced incredible highs (the release of her successful debut album; her Oscar, Golden Globe, and Grammy victories; her engagement to I Love New York 2 reality-star-turned-pro-wrestler David "Punk" Otunga; performing the national anthem for a televised audience of millions at the Super Bowl; starring in The Secret Life Of Bees alongside A-listers Queen Latifah, Alicia Keys, Dakota Fanning, and Sophie Okonedo). And tragically, she's experienced even more unimaginable lows, namely the horrific triple-homicide of her mother, brother, and nephew in October 2008--which caused her to go into seclusion just as her album was coming out, and also motivated her to move away from Chicago, where the murders took place. On top of all that, Jennifer also suffered vocal-cord problems recently, which forced her to postpone some dates on her 2009 tour with Robin Thicke.

And now Jennifer Hudson's rollercoaster life has taken yet another giant swerve, although I'm happy to report that the latest J.Hud newsflash is a happy one. The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune are reporting today that--after weeks of speculation about a possible pregnancy, numerous photos of Jennifer sporting what appeared to be a "bump" under suspiciously billowy tops, and denials of bun-in-oven rumors by Jennifer's own publicist--J.Hud and Punk are indeed expecting their first child.

Both newspapers from the Idol's Windy City hometown, as well as newswire source UPI, have confirmed that the reportedly seven-months-pregnant Jennifer attended a Chicago baby shower in her honor this weekend. "It was a baby shower, a quiet gathering of friends and mostly family," J.Hud's friend, singer/actress Felicia Fields, confirmed to the press. "They're really trying to keep it kind of quiet."

[Editor's note: Felicia ain't exactly helping them keep this news on the DL, is she?]

Felicia told reporters, "It was a nice time that we had"--adding that it is still a mystery whether Jen's baby is a boy or a girl, and that Jennifer therefore received mostly yellow, rather than gender-specific pink or blue, shower gifts.

The Sun-Times reports that the couple that I will now refer to as "Punkson" (should I copyright that?) are also keeping mum about their upcoming wedding date, but that Jennifer's three dogs (amusingly named Oscar, Grammy, and Dreamgirl) will be included in the ceremony when it eventually takes place.

While I'd typically fear that such a rollercoaster ride of professional and personal ups and downs would be difficult for any celebrity to deal with, Jennifer has always handled herself with grace under pressure, whether when facing the judges' overly harsh criticism on American Idol, sharing the Dreamgirls screen with intimidating mega-superstar Beyonce, healing after a massive family tragedy, or emerging from post-homicide hiding to triumph at the Super Bowl and Grammy Awards.

The only sad note here is Jennifer's child will grow up never knowing his or her grandmother, uncle, or cousin. But I send my congratulations to Punkson, as I have no doubts that Jennifer will be a true maternal idol.

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