Law & Order: SVU star and rapper Ice-T has opened up about his family’s experience with the novel coronavirus, revealing his own close calls and losses due to the virus, and why his family picked up and relocated to Arizona amid the pandemic.
While appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the actor, husband and father got honest about his fears over contracting the virus and why he isn’t ashamed to tell people he’s scared of it. The SVU star shared that people on social media had questioned his toughness but said he publicly talks about the risks of the virus because there’s “still non-believers” out there.
“I’ve made it through so much in my life,” he told Fallon. “I don’t want to die because of this, and especially with a new daughter. So, yeah, I’m aware, and I’m concerned, and I’m cautious. If you want to call that scared, call it scared.”
Ice-T got even more personal when he revealed how the pandemic has “taken on a toll” on him and his family. The TV star told Fallon several people he knows had lost their lives already. There are over 4.5 million confirmed cases in the U.S., with more than 150,000 deaths as a result of coronavirus complications, to date.
“It’s easy to say, ‘Oh, I can’t catch it,’ but once you know people — I mean, Jimmy, I know about eight people that have actually passed away,” he said. “So, I mean, I don’t need much more proof than that to know I don’t want to play with it, you know?”
The father of Ice-T’s wife, Coco, was also hospitalized, which Ice-T has posted about on his social media. During his conversation with Fallon, he called his father-in-law “a Harley Davidson-riding, no-mask-ing type of dude,” and said he spent nine days at home with COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, before he eventually went to the hospital. With confirmed double pneumonia, Ice-T’s father-in-law spent three days in the ICU and another month in the hospital, the rapper said.
“They call you, and they make those next of kin calls. That’s when it’s scary, because, like, we might have to put him on the ventilator,” Ice-T told Fallon. “Now he’s home, but his lungs are damaged indefinitely.”
The rapper and actor is currently in Arizona, but he was in New York City on the SVU set when the first jump in U.S. coronavirus cases hit, shutting down productions across the city. Ice-T said the pandemic’s seriousness, which he understood through the daily case reports, is what convinced him and his family to go to their residence in Arizona, which they keep to be close to Coco’s family and his California friends. But instead of assuaging his fears, the relocation only amplified them as cases began to spike there.
“We stayed in New York for two and a half — about two months, and the numbers were just spiking — 800 people a day, you know, 900 people a day. And I was like, ‘You know what? We’re gonna try to go to Arizona,'” he said. “When we got to Arizona, nobody was wearing masks. They were walking around and — I’m coming from New York, so I’m like already careful I’m like, ‘Yo, this is not OK.'”
Watch the full segment below.