Sheryl Lee Ralph opens up about scary moments after her son was mugged and shot three times

Sheryl Lee Ralph smiles between adult children Ivy-Victoria Maurice, left, and Etienne Maurice.
Sheryl Lee Ralph is flanked by her two children, Ivy-Victoria Maurice, left, and Etienne Maurice.
(Paul Archuleta / FilmMagic)

Sheryl Lee Ralph has recently opened up about the frightening moments in 2013 when she found out that her son had been shot multiple times during a mugging.

The “Abbott Elementary” actor remembers collapsing and dropping her phone after she heard the news.

“I didn’t even listen to the rest,” the Emmy winner told AARP: The Magazine for a forthcoming cover story, according to People. “But they didn’t kill him, thank God.”


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Ralph shares two children — daughter Ivy-Victoria Maurice, 28, and son Etienne Maurice, 31 — with ex-husband Eric Maurice, whom she divorced in 2021.

The shooting took place when Etienne Maurice was 21 and studying at Drexel University in Pennsylvania. During a night out drinking with friends, Maurice was held at gunpoint outside a West Philadelphia bar by two men to shake him down for cash and valuables, he told The Times in a June interview. After Maurice fought back, the men — a father and son — shot at him five times, hitting him twice in the leg and ultimately leaving him with long-term nerve damage. A third bullet grazed him above his eye.

Maurice, who to this day struggles to recall the details of the incident due to his drunkenness at the time, said the shooting was a wake-up call to become sober. He now runs a health and wellness nonprofit, WalkGood LA, which he started with his sister and his cousin, Marley Rae Ralph, during the 2020 protests following George Floyd’s murder. The organization offers community yoga, runs, healing circles and other events meant to promote mental and physical health within L.A.’s Black community.

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In the AARP interview, Ralph also recalled another challenging moment for her son, who also while in college was involved in a car accident that left him with lasting brain trauma. She celebrated Maurice’s recent wins after successful recoveries from both incidents and called her children the “greatest gift.”

“When I met their father, my first husband, I could see my children just as clearly as they are in life right now, and I said, ‘Oh, I know the assignment right here,’” Ralph said. “If I had a regret in life, it would be that I didn’t have more children. But I have two beautiful children.”

As Ralph has become a household name with her role as the stern yet loving kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard on ABC’s “Abbott Elementary,” her children have accompanied her each step of the way. Ivy-Victoria served as her mother’s stylist for the 2023 Golden Globe Awards and throughout her latest “Abbott” press tour. In February, when Ralph traveled to Arizona for Super Bowl LVII to perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” both Ivy-Victoria and Etienne were on hand.


And when she has time, the “Dreamgirls” performer told The Times last year, that she also enjoys showing up for her children’s work, occasionally attending their donation-based yoga sessions at Kenneth Hahn Recreation Area.

“Family for me is everything,” Ralph gushed to The Times. “I don’t have to drag them along in life. They’re literally carrying themselves and at times helping me — also while making me crazy — but it’s a good thing.”

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