Jamie Foxx may now be a major Hollywood talent, but he didn’t start off life that way. The actor’s childhood wasn’t always an easy one, either – which perhaps makes his rise to the top all the more astounding. After Foxx opened up about his humble beginnings, though, his fans and the public at large found out just what he has had to overcome in order to become an Oscar-winning star.
What’s more, such details may have come as a shock, as Foxx isn’t typically one to broadcast every detail of his private life. Even his relationship with Katie Holmes has been a low-key one; though the couple have reportedly dated for years, they are still yet to officially confirm their romance.
Perhaps, then, Foxx prefers to let his work do the talking for him. And there’s no doubt that he’s had an illustrious career, with an Oscar for his role as Ray Charles in Ray under his belt. He’s a Grammy winner, too, with two awards for his collaborations with T-Pain and Kanye West.
Indeed, when the actor isn’t plying his trade on the big screen, he may be found making music; to date, Foxx has released five solo albums under his own name. And that’s not even taking into account his successful stand-up career or his time in television on The Jamie Foxx Show, either.
It’s worth taking into account then, that Foxx has achieved all this despite his heartbreaking start in life. Before the future actor had even had his first birthday, in fact, his parents had split up. His mother subsequently realized that she couldn’t raise a baby by herself and so gave her child to the couple who had in turn adopted and raised her – Foxx’s grandparents Mark and Estelle Talley.
Furthermore, Foxx saw little of his mother or father during his childhood. And that’s a sad state of affairs that the star still questioned well into his Hollywood career. Indeed, as Foxx would tell the Daily Mail in 2009, “I still ask myself why they didn’t want me,” he has said of his parents. “Was I inconvenient?”
It was up to Foxx’s grandparents, then, to set him up for the future. And the actor’s grandmother in particular aimed to give the young boy under her care a head start in life through music. As Foxx would relate in his Daily Mail interview, “[My grandma] was the one who made me learn the piano. She said, ‘I’ve paid good money for this thing, and now you’re going to play it.’”
The lessons were arguably worth it, though, as Foxx later earned himself a college scholarship thanks to his proficiency at playing classical music. His skill on the piano has served him well in his music career, too – and it must also have come in handy when playing Ray Charles. That may not be all that Foxx has to thank his grandma for, though.
Indeed, it seems as if Estelle Talley encouraged her grandson to be the best he could be. That’s according to Foxx himself, who said of his grandmother to the Daily Mail, “I grew up in this small town, and she was like, ‘You’re going to get yourself out into the world, make something of yourself.’”
Foxx added, “And I remember [my grandma] saying, ‘Don’t be scared of white people; you’re as good as anyone on this planet.’” Sadly, though, Talley wasn’t present to see her grandson pick up his Oscar for Best Actor at the 2005 Academy Awards, as she had died of Alzheimer’s disease the previous year.
In December 2005, meanwhile, an interview with Foxx was published in O magazine, in which the actor spoke further about his family. There, he would also talk about his daughter, Corinne, who was born in 1994. “Connecting with my daughter is the most important thing in my life,” Foxx revealed.
In addition, the same conversation led Foxx to explain that he had always been “puzzled” by his father not being around. He went on, “Why couldn’t he drive 28 miles to check on a son who passed a football more than 1,000 yards?” The star figured that there was a reason for his dad’s lack of presence in his life, however.
Foxx continued, “I think some of [my dad’s] absence has to do with his being a Muslim. He drew a line in the sand, ‘I’m a Muslim and, since you’re not, I can’t be your father.’ He added, however, “During our last conversation, which was after my grandmother passed, I said, ‘Listen, I understand observing your religion, but is that worth missing out on your son’s life?’”
And Foxx concluded, “I don’t really even know what my biological father is like. I don’t know what his favorite food is. I don’t know his quirks.” It was clear, then, that the father-son relationship between the pair was strained at that time.
Fortunately, though, Foxx has kept in touch with his two sisters Deidra and DeOndra. Deidra has even spent her own time in Hollywood, acting as a hair stylist for her brother throughout his silver-screen career. Indeed, it’s she who Foxx has to thank for his ’dos in the likes of Baby Driver and Django Unchained.
DeOndra, meanwhile, may be recognizable from her appearance in Foxx’s video for the track “Blame It.” She also turned up to the 2010 Grammy Awards and posed with her brother on the red carpet. And, as it happens, she and Deidra ended up living with Foxx, as the Oscar winner would explain in a 2011 interview with People.
Maybe it was the influence of his sisters, then, that helped finally lead Foxx to reconnect with his biological mother. What’s more, as Foxx would relate to The Times in 2014, his mom had even moved in with him. “We’re trying to learn from each other,” he told the publication.
And Foxx would indicate to The Times that he was open to a reconciliation with his biological father, too, saying, “The door is open [for him].” Unfortunately, though, Foxx’s relationship with his father was never mended before his dad’s death in 2014.
It’s fair to say, however, that Foxx hasn’t forgotten who raised him. Certainly, he was more than willing to speak proudly of his adoptive grandparents on a 2017 episode of Beat Shazam. There, he encountered a mother hoping to win money for her adopted daughters, one of whom was sitting in the audience. That meeting in turn moved him to tears and made him speak once more about his own upbringing.
And whatever happens between Foxx and Katie Holmes, the star may be more than willing to step in and act as a father figure for her daughter Suri, if it was ever needed. After all, someone once did the same for him.