“A mother is a son’s first true love,” Denzel Washington shared with audiences while making an appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
According to Yahoo! News, the recent Golden Globes nominee was in a reflective mood, admitting that he didn’t cry during his late mother’s funeral but quipped to Colbert that perhaps he “saved it up” for the late-night talk show host. Washington, who has been doing press for his fourth directorial effort, A Journal for Jordan, lost his mother, Lennis Washington, earlier this year at the age of 97.
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“She didn’t get cheated. Nor did my brother or sister,” the actor said after Colbert remarked that it’s a “great blessing to have your mother so long.” The Emmy-winning comedian then inquired as to how the actor honors his mother’s love with his work.
The question led Washington to become verklempt with emotion.
“A mother is a son’s, first true love. A son, especially their first son, is a mother’s last true love,” Washington said before pausing as he became visibly stirred and apologized to the audience.
Now witnessing the relationship between his son, actor John David Washington, and his wife, Denzel actualized that the words he spoke were proven to be true. “[My mother] was there for everything and she went home,” Washington would later say, proceeding to then ask Colbert for a tissue as he continued to fight back tears.
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Colbert then presented a photograph of the Washingtons together at the 1990 Academy Awards. Still emotionally gripped to the impact of his mother, Denzel quipped, “This is terrible! [I] didn’t cry at her funeral … I guess I saved it up for you.”
Colbert referenced a Sigmund Freud quote that led Denzel to question whether he was in fact his mother’s favorite. “I don’t know if I was her favorite,” he said. “I gave her the hardest time I can tell you that!”
Washington’s love and appreciation of his mother is well-documented. In an interview with The New York Times, he shared with the publication that his promise to his mother before she died was to “honor her and God by living the rest of my days in a way that would make her proud.”
Washington, who turns 67 himself in a few weeks, also shared that the directing bug has become his main interest because it allows him to help others. “What I do, what I make, what I made — all of that — is that going to help me on the last day of my life? It’s about, ‘Who have you lifted up? Who have we made better?,’” he said.
In addition to being nominated for a Golden Globe for The Tragedy of Macbeth alongside Frances McDormand, Washington also directed the Michael B. Jordan-led A Journal for Jordan.
Watch the full clip below: