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‘Like Another Mother’: Halle Berry Gushes Over Her Lifelong Mentor Who Taught the Actress About Her Culture, Showered Her With Unconditional Love

Like many people, Halle Berry understands the significant role a teacher can have in a child’s life. Growing up of mixed race with a white mother, Berry found a mentor in her fifth grade teacher, Yvonne Sims.

As Berry matriculated through school and then into adulthood, Sims has been by her side every step of the way. As a result, the Academy award-winning actress says Sims has been like a second mother, and is more deserving than anyone to be on the receiving end of Berry’s graciousness. 

Halle Berry and her mentor Yvonne Sims. Photo: Halleberry/Instagram

“My mom was a single mom and so she worked a lot. So my sister and I were very much latchkey kids,” said Berry of her upbringing. “She [Sims] sort of took me in under her wing. I have a white mother and she, being a Black woman, taught me about my culture.”

Berry and Sims are the latest duo to appear on HGTV’s “Celebrity IOU.” The show is in its third season and has featured celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart, to name a few, as they each gift a surprise home renovation to an individual who has had an immeasurable impact on their life. 

For Berry, that person is without a doubt Sims. The educator was one of two Black teachers Berry encountered while attending elementary school in Bedford, Ohio. The “Moonfall” actress says Sims stepped in and gave her knowledge of her heritage in ways her mother was unable to do so.

“I think she saw the need in me. She saw that I needed to be mentored and she stepped in,” she said. “She would take me to art museums, teach me about Black history, about my heritage, because it wasn’t really taught in schools. She just picked me up, you know, and quickly became more than a mentor, almost like another mother.”

In the past Berry has spoken about her childhood being difficult growing up with an absent father, and as biracial. “I watched her evolve from being a fifth grade little girl to being the woman that she is now, and a lot that has contributed to that are the hard knocks,” said Sims. “It wasn’t easy for the Black kids. It definitely wasn’t easy for the mixed-race kids.”

Berry is also a mother to two mixed race children, 14-year-old daughter Nahla, and 8-year-old son Maceo. On Mother’s Day, Berry reflected on what it means to be a mother while expressing gratitude for Sims. 

In a heartfelt post, the actress wrote, “Without her guidance, wisdom, patience and most importantly, her UNCONDITIONAL love for me in all the stages of my life, I’m not so sure I’d still be here.”

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