At the time her ex-husband, father of her son Marcell, was killed, the boy was 9. And Taraji was struggling to become an actress. It was in June of 2003. William, then 34, went to confront a couple about slashing a friend’s tires. The couple was Russell and Charlotte Nickelson. According to court documents, Russell started beating William over the head with a lamp, while his wife stabbed him multiple times. They were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced, Charlotte to 30 months and Russell to 50 months .
“His dad was murdered when Marcell was 9,” Taraji says of her son. “He’s had to deal with life in a way that a lot of young kids haven’t yet.” And despite the fact that they weren’t together at the time, “we would sit and weep about it,” says Taraji “Do I mourn for him? Absolutely. I wish my son had his dad. But sometimes things line up and they have to happen and we don’t know why.”
So, she struggled as a single mom. She was living on welfare at the time, and continued to pursue her acting career. Those were extremely difficult times. She finally managed to make things happen, and is now a successful actress.
About William LaMarr Johnson, she said:“I had my one bad boy,” They started dating when she was attending Howard University. “That was my son’s father, my first love, and he’s not with us, God rest his soul.”
Her perseverance and resilience come to prove the saying: Where there’s a will, there is a way.