The 'Lovecraft Country' actress finalized her divorce from Josiah Bell in August 2021.
Jurnee Smollett is looking back on her tumultuous few years with a positive perspective. In an interview with The New York Times, the 35-year-old actress reflected on her hurdles over the past few years and her hopes for the future.
In March 2020, the Lovecraft Country star filed for divorce from her husband, musician Josiah Bell, after nearly 10 years of marriage. The two share a son together, 5-year-old Hunter. When asked what it's like being a mom, Jurnee clarified that she is a "single working mom!”
"It's the biggest blessing and the biggest challenge, simultaneously," she added. "But I’m lucky I’m in a situation in which, as a working mom, I’m able to bring him with me wherever I go. I know not all moms have that benefit."
Jurnee filed for divorce days after her brother, Jussie Smollett, reappeared on Instagram months after he alleged he was involved in a racist and homophobic attack in January 2019. The Empire alum was accused of staging a hate crime against himself, and pleaded not guilty after he was charged with six counts of disorderly conduct for allegedly lying to police about being the victim of a hate crime.
In March, the actor was sentenced to 150 days in Cook County Jail and immediately remanded into custody. Judge James B. Linn also sentenced the 39-year-old actor to 30 months of felony probation, three months after he was found guilty on five of the six counts of disorderly conduct for which he was charged. Jussie was also ordered to pay $120,106 in restitution to the City of Chicago and fined $25,000 following his report that he was the victim of a hate crime in January 2019.
Jussie had just begun serving his 5-month sentence when he was released from Cook County Jail on bond, while his legal team works to appeal his conviction.
Jurnee has stood by her brother despite the criminal investigation and sentencing. Although The New York Times reported that she declined to talk about the situation, she did state that "it's no secret how heartbroken my family is."
"I am so close to Jussie," she added. "I love that man so much. He’s always been there for me, as all my siblings have. If I didn’t have my family, if I didn’t have my mom and my siblings, I don’t know where I’d be."
Meanwhile, fans will be excited to hear that Jurnee revealed she's "preparing to reprise her role as Black Canary."
Back in 2021, Deadline reported that a Black Canary solo film was in development for HBO Max with Jurnee set to reprise her role and Lovecraft Country creator Misha Green writing. Jurnee teased that she has a number of films seemingly in the works.
"I'm very excited about the slate of films we have coming down the pipeline," she told NYT. "They're dream roles."
The actress played Black Canary as part of the ensemble cast of Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) in 2020. Her performance in Birds of Prey earned her a MTV Movie & TV Awards nomination for Best Fight. The actress is also nominated for Most Frightened Performance for Lovecraft Country.
"To see the fans be so passionate and to see them accept the character and root for the character -- I love Black Canary, I love Dinah Lance, it's such an honor to play her. It means so much to me," she said.
"It's no secret how much I love the character and how much I would love to continue playing her, so talk to DC!" she implored. "I wish I had more say in it!"
Looks like the fans have been heard.