Zak Williams, oldest son of the late Robin Williams, is a dad!
As People reports, a rep for Williams, 36, confirms that he and fiancée Olivia June welcomed their first child on Wednesday, a boy named McLaurin Clement Williams.
The first name of the couple’s son is a tribute to the late “Aladdin” star, whose middle name was McLaurin (the couple will reportedly call him Mickey for short).
According to People, the baby boy weighed in at 8-pounds and measured 20-and-a-half inches at birth; little McLaurin is the first child for both.
The birth comes nearly five years after Williams tragically took his own life in August 2014 at age 63; in addition to Zak (from his first marriage, to Valerie Velardi), Williams was also father to daughter Zelda, 29, and Cody, 27, from his second marriage to Marcia Garces Williams.
In a 2015 interview with People, Zak opened up about mourning his father.
“We try to focus on the joyful moments and memories,” he said. “We’re still grieving. We’re moving through the process of healing and recovering,” assisted by some “wonderful family and friends.”
Recently, Zak was one of the participants in photographer Mariangela Abeo’s “Faces of Fortitude” project, a series of photos of those who’ve lost a loved one to suicide.
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“There’s no education in place to tell you how to deal with this. To balance how to grieve privately with your family and then also to have to grieve publicly. While it was nice to be heard, I was spending time on the outer layer instead of on the inside. It wasn't just the survivor network for me, it was the whole world.” Zak is the son of beloved comedian Robin Williams- a suicide loss survivor, entrepreneur, investor, and mental health advocate. He serves on the board for Bring Change To Mind, an org whose mission is to end the stigma and discrimination around mental illness by creating campaigns, storytelling movements, and youth programs to encourage diverse and cultural conversation around mental health. I prepared for days before, even venting to a dear friend moments before Zak arrived. Would I make a fool of myself? Would I accidentally say ‘Oh Captain, My Captain’ and burst into tears? I was overwhelmed.Then my friend said something important -they said, “Be yourself, share your pain. His pain is the same.Remember who you are and why you’re there.” So that’s what I did. In front of me sat a man who lost a loved one to suicide. A man who understood the same level of devastation as I did, as so many of us do. I shared my story, of attempt and loss. Then I was honored that he shared with me his feelings of loss, devastation and growth. THAT is what I strive for: To create a safe space for ANYONE who’s been touched by suicide so they feel able to share. For 90 min, we were just 2 people who had lost someone, and found a common ground in our pain. After he left, I packed up, got in my car and started to drive.Then immediately I realized, OH YEAH, I’m not ok. I pulled over to the nearest park and I sobbed for 30 minutes. The tears were a culmination of what I’d accomplished in 18 months, they were hearing this man tell me my project was “extraordinary” and that he was happy to be part of it. That somehow, through the death of my sweet brother, I’ve been able to provide a safe space for Zak Williams and so many other people. It was a defining moment for me and for my project. I’m so fortunate to share words and photos from Zak’s session with you all week.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.
The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention, Depression Hurts and Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868 all offer ways of getting help if you, or someone you know, may be suffering from mental health issues.