As the world mourns and celebrates the life and legacy of freedom fighter Nelson Mandela, some of our favorite celebrities have reflected on time they spent with the anti-apartheid leader and what his presence in their lives meant to them. I also found a few touching images of celebrities with Mandela that I thought I’d share.
‘My thoughts and love go out to the Mandela family. Rest in Peace Madiba. You will be missed, but your impact on this world will live forever. There will never be words to say what I’m feeling right now. I am saddened to the depths of my soul. Truly.’ – Charlize Theron
‘Nelson has stood as a figure of strength, hope, freedom, selflessness and love, and I join everyone across the world in mourning his passing. However, he was much more than just a figurehead to me – he was my mentor, my honorary grandfather, my Tata. Since meeting him in 1993, he’s guided me and gave me a reason for being in the tough times of my life. He changed my perception of the world.’ – Naomi Campbell
‘Mandela is gone. I shed a lot of tears today. I am glad I was with the water today to ease me. The world has lost a great man, a powerful spirit and that simply made me… sad. But how lucky are we to have experienced a man like him in our lifetime?’ – Will Smith
‘What I will remember most about Madiba, besides his enormous impact on the world, is how much he loved children including his favorite Smith…’ – Willow Smith
‘My deepest condolences to his wife, Graça Machel, his children, his family and friends, and to ALL that love him. Rest in peace, Madiba.’ – Jada Pinkett Smith
One of the great honors of my life was to be invited to Nelson Mandela’s home, spend private time and get to know him. He was everything you’ve ever heard and more – humble and unscathed by bitterness. And he always loved to tell a good joke. Being in his presence was like sitting with grace and majesty at the same time. He will always be my hero. His life was a gift to us all. – Oprah