Billy Porter Announces Death of ‘Loving’ Mother Cloerinda

Billy Porter is mourning the death of his mother, Cloerinda Jean Johnson Porter-Ford.

The Broadway star announced the news in an Instagram post on Thursday and shared that he was “right beside her when she took her last breath, wrapped in our arms.” The post included a handful of photos and videos from their time together.

“Mommy lived life to the fullest despite physical limitations pressed upon her. She was the personification of true Christianity and her unconditional love is a template that the world could benefit from employing. Her example is what we continue to strive for,” wrote Porter.

Porter said that his family is “heartbroken she is no longer here with us, but find solace that her suffering has ended.”

(L-R) Billy Porter, Cloerinda Porter and Mary Margaret Porter.

John Lamparski/Getty 

“Her fight was long and hard—she did it with grace and integrity. Mommy will remain forever in our hearts as she continues to guide us from above, as she has done on this Earth. From Labor to Reward …,” Porter shared.

The actor explained in a Build Series interview in April 2017 that his mother was “born with a degenerative disability that has only progressed and worsened.”

“That woman has got out of bed every single day of her life and has fought for her life when everybody on the planet said that he shouldn’t even bother. I don’t know how to be anything else when you have an example like that. You can’t be anything else.”

After announcing her death, Porter received support from individuals like Loni Love, who commented on his post, “I’m so sorry but please keep the beautiful memories of your Mother to heart. Prayers for the whole family at this time 🙏🏾🙏🏾.”

Tamron Hall commented, “Praying for you. Thank you for sharing her journey with the world. We love you.” Lena Waithe wrote, “Sending you so much love. Keeping your family in my prayers.”

Billy Porter.

Tristan Fewings/Getty 

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Porter opened up about the significance his mother’s unconditional love had on him during an appearance on Today with Hoda & Jenna in December 2023.

“I think it’s what we talk about all the time. When we have support from our family, it’s much easier to navigate life. Very often, queer people are kicked out of their spaces, and we have figured out how to create our chosen families, and that’s okay too. Family comes in many different forms.”

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