‘I Threw My Hands Up’: Rickey Smiley Says Son Brandon Began Struggling with Addiction In the 11th Grade, Admits ‘Bad Days’ and ‘Conflict’ Sometimes Led Him to Give Up

Rickey Smiley says his son Brandon Smiley has a long history of struggling with addiction. The 32-year-old suddenly passed away in late January after being found unresponsive inside his home in Birmingham, Alabama.

The morning radio show host and his family believe drug use played a role in Brandon’s untimely demise; however, they are still awaiting toxicology reports.

In a new interview with Tamron Hall, Rickey spoke in more detail about his son’s troubled past, which dates back to high school.

Rickey Smiley (left) and his son Brandon Smiley (right). (Photos: Tamron Hall Show/YouTube)

He said the aspiring stand-up comic had been “Just struggling for years, had been struggling probably since the 11th grade,” in the discussion that took place on March 13. “…And it had gotten to a point where his mother and I — he has a wonderful mother and [step]father who lives in Atlanta — his mother really stuck with him.”

Rickey went on to reveal that there were times he was at his wits end with his failed efforts to get his son help with the addiction, but Brenda’s support never wavered.

“Even when I threw my hands up on those bad days, and said, ‘I can’t do it anymore. I’m tired,” he said.

Rickey candidly added that “It’s always conflict when you dealing with somebody that’s struggling,” something that Hall commended him for doing. 

Brandon was laid to rest in his father’s home state, Alabama, days later on Feb. 4. While the day was somber, Rickey shared on social media that his son’s daughter, Storm, provided him with an unexpected silver lining on an otherwise gloomy day.

“After the funeral, I was going to run home and change clothes to make it to the repast, and my granddaughter was there,” he told Hall. “I said, ‘OK, see you tomorrow,’ and she was like, ‘No.'” That was the first time ever that she had separation issues with me because she usually just go home.”

As she began to cry, Smiley said he brightened the young girl’s day by taking her to play on the swing.

“To have that day where I’m actually pushing her on a swing. I could hear the swing squeak, I can hear the birds chirping. The sun was setting, it was cool that day, and it was quiet.”

“At the end of the day where you just buried your son, which is her dad, to push her on a swing like that I just think it was God just giving me a sense of peace and comfort.”

Earlier this month, Rickey spoke publicly about his son’s addiction for the first time. While on the “Today” show, he recalled getting the call from Brandon’s girlfriend that he had overdosed.

“His mother and I made several attempts to try and send him to get the help that he needed, send him to rehab,” Rickey told co-host Craig Melvin.

The father of four said he is still unsure why his son turned to drugs, adding that he, Brandon’s mother, and his bonus father were “all clean and sober.”

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