As seen at the top of the clip above, Colbert—whose own mother died back in 2013—told the A Journal for Jordan director and The Tragedy of Macbeth star that he was “sorry to hear” about his mother’s passing.
“She didn’t get cheated, nor did my brother and my sister and I,” Washington said of Lennis Washington, who died in June of this year at the age of 97. From there, Colbert mentioned some of the powerful comments Washington has previously made about his mother, prompting the two-time Oscar winner to open up about the importance of that relationship.
“A mother is a son’s first true love,” he said. “A son, especially that first son, is a mother’s last true love. … I’m getting choked up.” After a brief pause, the revered star of stage and screen continued by connecting this statement to what he’s witnessed between his wife Pauletta and eldest son John David Washington.
“You know when I knew that? When I saw my son John David Washington handle my wife,” Washington said around the 1:10 mark. “I don’t care what he does, she’s gonna [be like] ‘Alright baby, what happened?’. … That’s when I realized, really, that bond. And, you know, [my mother] was there for everything. And she went home.”
Later, Washington joked that getting emotional during the interview was “terrible” and noted that he didn’t cry at his mother’s funeral. Asked why, he offered: “I don’t know. I guess I saved it up for you.” And toward the end of the clip above, Washington shared a succinct parting message for the Late Show audience about the value of family.
“Hug ‘em, love ‘em,” he said.
Elsewhere, the two discussed the aforementioned Macbeth, which sees Washington paired up with fellow Oscar winner Frances McDormand. See more below.