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Denzel Washington breaks down in tears remembering his late mother

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  • Denzel Washington
    Denzel Washington
    American actor
  • Stephen Colbert
    Stephen Colbert
    American comedian

On The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Wednesday, actor Denzel Washington broke down in tears while discussing his mother, Lennis Washington, who died in June of this year at the age of 97.

The host Colbert brought a quote he had heard Washington say about a mother being a boy’s first true love, and he asked Washington how he is honoring that love with his work. That’s when the Oscar winner was hit with some unexpected emotions.

“A mother is a son's first true love. A son, especially that first son, is a mother's last true love,” Washington began. “That's-- I'm getting choked up. Sorry.”

Washington, who stars in the new Joel Coen film The Tragedy of Macbeth, went on to say that his mother was there for everything throughout his life and career, but that now “she went home,” before asking Colbert for a tissue.

After sitting for a moment in an attempt to gather himself, Washington then told Colbert that he didn’t even cry at his mother’s funeral. And when the host asked why he thinks that is, the answer was a perfect way to lighten the mood.

“I don't know. I guess I saved it up for you,” Washington said, laughing. “For crying out loud!”

Video transcript

DENZEL WASHINGTON: A son, especially that first son, is a mother's last true love. That's-- I'm getting choked up. Sorry.

KYLIE MAR: Waterworks were flowing on "The Late Show" with Stephen Colbert, Wednesday, when actor Denzel Washington broke down while discussing his mother Lennis Washington who died in June of this year at the age of 97.

DENZEL WASHINGTON: She was there for everything and she went home. Got a tissue?

STEPHEN COLBERT: I got a tissue for you, a tissue for you. There you go. There you go. Here's your mother. This is the 1990 Academy Awards.

KYLIE MAR: The emotions of the moment caught up with viewers on Twitter as well who said things like "Openness about loss is so empowering to others. Thank you Denzel Washington." And "Crying with Denzel Washington tonight was not something I had on my agenda." And it sounds like it wasn't on Denzel agenda either.

DENZEL WASHINGTON: This is terrible. And didn't cry at her funeral.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Why do you think?

DENZEL WASHINGTON: I don't know, I guess I saved it up for you.

[AUDIENCE LAUGHING]

For crying out loud.

KYLIE MAR: But the Oscar winner did choose a good shoulder to cry on considering Stephen Colbert lost his father and two of his brothers in a plane crash at the age of 10, and lost his own mother back in 2013.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Well, Denzel, it was really wonderful to see you again. Thanks so much for coming.

DENZEL WASHINGTON: My pleasure, hug them, love them.

[AUDIENCE APPLAUSE]

STEPHEN COLBERT: I know it well.

DENZEL WASHINGTON: You know it well, you've been down that road?

STEPHEN COLBERT: Yeah, couple times.

DENZEL WASHINGTON: Yeah.

STEPHEN COLBERT: Thank you, Denzel.

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