/assets/images/headerlogos/TVWEEK-logo.svg
Celeb News

This Is Us star Sterling K Brown tells: "I didn't get to say goodbye"

The actor reveals how his career has been shaped by the man he misses the most.

By Amber Giles
Over the past few years, American actor Sterling K Brown has enjoyed the kind of success most actors can only dream of.
He stole the show in the critically acclaimed miniseries American Crime Story: The People V OJ Simpson, winning an Emmy Award and earning a Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of Los Angeles prosecutor Christopher Darden.
Then, he landed the role of Randall Pearson in This Is Us, a show that has captured the imagination of audiences.
As Randall, Sterling has been a revelation. He's taken home a Golden Globe and an Emmy Award for his star turn on the small screen.
But while he's been celebrated by critics and fans alike, there's one person he hasn't been able to share his success with – his father.
"I was 10 years old when my dad passed away," Sterling reveals to TV WEEK. "It was difficult…"
Sterling starred alongside Sarah Paulson in American Crime Story: The People V OJ Simpson.
It's clear the legacy of his father looms large. In fact, Sterling was born Kelby Brown, but changed his name at age 16 to Sterling, his father's name.
Having lost his mentor at such a young age, the actor admits he always felt like something was missing.
"When he died, I didn't get to go to the hospital and be present for the actual transition," he recalls. "So it felt like I didn't get a chance to say goodbye."

While some people might scoff at the idea of a TV show offering closure, Sterling's work on This Is Us has been a large part of his healing.
In season one, when Randall farewells his biological father, William (Ron Cephas Jones), it was heartbreaking, emotional and, for Sterling, painfully real.
"I would go into the writers' room and share my experience of my father's passing," he explains. "I found they wrote something that allowed for a personal catharsis.
"Being there with William, I was getting a chance to do something I didn't get to do in real life – say goodbye to my father.
"There's something wonderful about being able to have that opportunity."
With This Is Us co-stars Chrissy Metz and Justin Hartley.
At 41, Sterling is arguably at the peak of his powers, collecting coveted awards and enjoying a happy life with his wife, Ryan Michelle Bathe, and their two sons, Andrew, six, and two-year-old Amaré.
But he's a man who can't quite ignore the big milestones.
"I got married at 29, and then turned 30. So I was like, 'OK, I got married, I'm 30, check that off,'" Sterling laughs.
"Before I turned 40, I had two children. I was like, 'OK, I always wanted two kids, so that's happened.'"

But there's another milestone on the horizon that hangs heavily and, once again, it relates to his father.
"My pops passed away when he was 45," Sterling says. "I knew that was young, but now that I'm a few years away from 45, it really dawned on me how young that was.
"It spearheaded an effort to make sure I don't take my health for granted; that I do everything in my power to be around as long as possible for my kids."

read more from

/assets/images/headerlogos/TVWEEK-logo.svg