My column this week for The Huffington Post serves as tribute to a special friend of mine with a famous name and a powerful story. The “other” Diana Ross suffered an unspeakable tragedy, but she’s survived to demonstrate incredible strength and to fight for a critical cause — battling the scourge of domestic violence.
Read the excerpt below:
When my friend Terrell Ross first introduced me to his wife, I struggled to stifle a chuckle.
Diana… Ross? C’mon!
Her famous name seemed even more ironic as I came to know her. Quite in contrast to her brash diva namesake, the “other” Diana Ross was soft-spoken, kind, and demure.
Only more recently did I learn that Diana’s outward modesty belied an extraordinary inner fortitude.
In October 2006, Terrell — her beloved husband of more than three decades — died after a much-too-quick battle with a particularly pernicious and virulent strain of cancer.
And then just three years later, on September 11, 2009, her youngest daughter Amanda, aged 28, was brutally murdered by her ex-fiancé, just a few hundred yards from where Diana was gardening at her home in Lexington, Kentucky.
Because the killer, Steve Nunn, was a well-known politician — a former state legislator and gubernatorial candidate, as well as the son of a former governor — a local media melée erupted. Nunn was quickly apprehended, Amanda was buried among much pomp and circumstance, and politicians raced to introduce legislation to honor her memory.