Article Dec 20, 2016

You are no longer passing

Ruth Negga learned of her father's death in a letter

Actress Ruth Negga discovered her father had passed away in a letter and phone call when she was a child.

The Loving star was born in Ethiopia, but fled from the country when she was four-years-old with her mother, and grew up in Ireland, waiting for her father to join the family - but he lost his life in a car accident.

"We were going to go to America, but my dad didn't get out in time," she tells Vogue magazine. "We found out (he died) in a letter and a phone call. This was 1988. There wasn't any grief counseling for kids."

The 34-year-old explains her mother was left devastated and she never remarried, but always remained strong for her daughter.

"She's a survivor," she continues.

The actress went back to Ethiopia when she was 18 to visit her father's grave, and the trip made her want to learn more about her culture.

"I find it difficult because it was an abrupt sort of ending to a lot of my life," she says. "I'm always very careful to say I'm Irish-Ethiopian because I feel Ethiopian and I look Ethiopian and I am Ethiopian. But there are 81 languages in Ethiopia, and I don't know any of them."

A few years ago, Ruth sought therapy to deal with the loss of her father, and quickly realized it's no coincidence she became an actress.

"I think it makes me able to access certain things that are quite near to the surface," she continues, "An honesty or something about life that I wouldn't have had otherwise."