Jamie Foxx Has Revealed His Sister With Down Syndrome Has Taught Him A Very Powerful Lesson

Jamie Foxx is an A-list actor at the top of his game, but his first and foremost devotion is to his family. Indeed, his circle of loved ones includes his daughters Annalise and Corinne and his half-sisters DeOndra and Deidra. DeOndra was born with Down syndrome, but she hasn’t let that stop her. Now, Foxx has spoken about the enormous impact she’s had on his life.

Family is clearly a very important thing to Foxx. Indeed, without the kindness of his grandparents, he may never have become the Oscar-winning actor he currently is. Foxx’s biological parents were unable to raise him, and so his mother Louise gave him up to her parents, Estelle and Mark Talley. They had adopted her, and they were able to do the same for the young Foxx as well.

Foxx learned to play the piano at age five – something that was a big help when it came to his performance as Ray Charles in the movie Ray. Sadly, his grandmother didn’t live to see Foxx collect his Academy Award for the role. She died in October 2004, just a few months before the Oscars ceremony. On the night, the Best Actor-winner paid tribute to her in his acceptance speech, saying, “She was my first acting teacher.”

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Foxx was also always close with his half-sisters, despite the age gap between them. Deidra is nine years younger than her brother, and DeOndra is 16 years his junior. In a 2011 interview with People magazine, that star recollected being a teenager and seeing DeOndra for the first time. “We weren’t trippin’ on the fact that she had Down syndrome,” he said. “We were trippin’ on the fact that she was cute.”

Just as his grandparents had stepped up for him, Foxx, of course, stepped up for his sisters. First, he invited Deidra, a hairstylist, to come and live with him in Los Angeles. Then, once DeOndra had graduated from high school, he invited her as well. “Moving my family in with me is nothing but nonstop laughter and kickin’ it,” he told People magazine. “And a little work.”

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Down syndrome is one of the most commonly occurring, and most widely recognized, chromosomal disorders. In fact, about one out of every 1,000 babies will be born with it. Those who have the condition possess a particular set of facial characteristics, and they will most likely have delays in their growth. Most people with it will need support as they grow older, especially as they’re likely to suffer serious medical issues.

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Down syndrome also presents with learning disability, which can vary from person to person. Indeed, research has shown that on average, a person with the condition will reach the same intellectual milestones as a nine-year-old. But this isn’t the case for everyone. Certainly, plenty of people with Down Syndrome attend mainstream high school or have paid jobs.

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Unfortunately, there is a lot of prejudice and misconception surrounding Down syndrome and those who have it. It’s certainly not uncommon to see stories in the media about discrimination against, or even abuse of, people with the condition. Although perceptions are changing, it sometimes seems there’s a long way to go.

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However, Foxx is determined that his sister will always be respected for who she is. “One thing people may not understand is that the person with special needs, the love that they give you is unfiltered,” he told People magazine. “There is nothing in the way of them loving you and there is nothing in the way of them being upset with you either. You really get the true individual.”

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“It’s challenging, but it is moments like this that make it all work,” Foxx said. “She’s a superstar now.” Indeed, DeOndra was so much of a superstar that she featured in an August 2018 episode of Dateline alongside her big brother. During the show, the Oscar-winner talked about his sister and the important things she had taught him.

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“I learned how to live,” Foxx told Kate Snow, the show’s presenter. “Sometimes we get caught up in our world on the extras of everything — ‘Ah, the Mercedes is not the right color!’ And then you see this girl over here, ‘I just want to live. I want to dance. I want to love.’ So, she brings you back down to what life is.”

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Clips of the interview were uploaded to YouTube, and the comments left there were overwhelmingly positive. “Aww! Jamie Foxx you make my heart smile. I never knew this about you. Bless your heart for being such a loving, caring brother,” one comment read. Indeed, the video gained 85,533 views, and 2.8K upvotes.

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In the Dateline interview, Foxx also mentioned why he invited his family to live with him in L.A. It turns out that it was to ensure the well-being of his youngest sister. “DeOndra was the main purpose,” he explained. “I didn’t know what she was going to have to do as far as fending for herself and becoming an adult.”

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In fact, DeOndra has achieved a great deal in her life so far. She’s walked the red carpet with her brother and danced for the cameras. She’s rubbed shoulders with celebrities, including Nick Cannon and Chris Brown – who, according to Foxx, she has a major crush on. And she even danced in Foxx’s video for “Blame It.”

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But perhaps most impressive of all, in 2011 DeOndra became an ambassador for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation, a non-profit organization working towards better advocacy and care for people with Down syndrome. Moreover, for her profile on the foundation’s website, she shared some information about her life, her achievements and her hopes for the future.

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“I know my family loves me. They never set limits and always make me feel I can touch the sky,” DeOndra said. “I started participating in Special Olympics when I was in the sixth grade. I participated in [it] for over nine years and won many awards and medals. My high school days were special. I participated in school plays and I went to all the dances.”

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“I moved to California after I finished high school to live with my brother, Jamie Foxx, and the rest of my family. There is so much love,” DeOndra continued. She also spoke about her love of dancing and how her brother had helped her. “I feel I was born to dance. I want to be a professional dancer. My brother has given me a chance to do some special things,” she said.

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“I danced in his video ‘Blame It.’ I’ve danced on stage at some of his concerts all over the country. And guess what? I’ve danced at the Grammy’s!” she wrote. “Please help me and my family to advocate for so many beautiful and brilliant children with Down syndrome who’ve been neglected. Together we will make dreams come true.”

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In 2014, Foxx gave a short interview to the foundation as well, singing the praises of his sister. “She speaks her mind and knows that there’s nothing she can’t do,” he said. “She has such a special quality, and she can light up a room. I don’t know where she gets it. It’s amazing.” When asked what he hoped DeOndra would achieve in the future, the actor answered, “That she can live her life with no boundaries, like she’s living it now.”

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It seems that no matter how famous Jamie Foxx gets, he always makes time for DeOndra. Indeed, on September 7, 2018, he left a birthday message for her on Instagram. “Happy birthday to my lil sis! Super proud of u. Blessed by your beautiful spirit!” he wrote. The relationship between them is incredible and very touching indeed.

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