Not since Danny‘s mother passed away during “Real World: Austin” has the series gotten this real, but tonight, we watched as Jay, the “Ex-Plosion” house rock, had his world crumble around him. When the Bronx native’s father phoned to tell him that his mother, who had battled cancer for most of his life, didn’t make it out of surgery, Jay was in complete denial. After the news eventually set in, however, he broke down for the first time since childhood, and in the MTV.com follow-up interview below, Jay opens up about his mother’s passing and what it was like having to cope with it on camera.
“That was definitely the worst phone call I’ve ever gotten in my life,” he says, adding that his mother’s death is something he still struggles with accepting to this day. And while losing a parent is hard enough on its own, Jay explains that compounding the tragedy with cameras following his every move only made things more complicated. However, if it wasn’t for the people he met through his “Real World” experience, he admits he might not have gotten through it.
“We’re so different, yet every one of them was just there to give me a hug,” he says of his San Fran support system. “I would have been lost without my roommates.”
Regardless of how hard it was being away from his mom during her last days, Jay shares that remaining in the house after her death was a way of honoring her memory. “She’s the reason I started the ‘Real World,'” he reveals. “She was the one always telling me, ‘You should do something like that! Get on it, you’re perfect!’ And I said I had to finish it for her.”
For more on how Jay made it through this trying time and to hear how he’s contributing to the fight against cancer, check out the interview clips below, plus go to MTV Act and Half of Us to learn more about coping with grief and loss.
Jay opens up about his mother’s death:
Jay shares how his watch company is helping to fight cancer: