Jamie Foxx 'learned to live' from sister with Down syndrome

The Oscar-winning actor and singer credits his younger sister, DeOndra Dixon, with giving his life perspective.

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
/ Source: TODAY
By Eun Kyung Kim

Actor and singer Jamie Foxx has earned both an Oscar and Grammy for his work, but as far as he’s concerned, the real superstar in his family is his younger sister, DeOndra Dixon.

The 50-year-old entertainer opens up about the bond he shares with his 33-year-old sibling, who has Down syndrome, in a Dateline interview airing Friday.

Foxx credits Dixon with giving his life perspective.

“I learned how to live. Sometimes we get caught up in our world on the extras of everything — ‘Ah, the Mercedes is not the right color!’” he told NBC News correspondent Kate Snow. “And then you see this girl over here. ‘I just want to live. I want to dance. I want to love.’ She brings you back down to what life is.”

Jamie Foxx and his sister, DeOndra Dixon.Courtesy of Kate Snow

Dixon has lived with her big brother ever since graduating from high school in 2002.

“I said, ‘You’re going to come here and stay here with me,’” said Foxx, who invited many family members to stay. “But DeOndra was the main purpose. I didn’t know what she was going to have to do as far as fending for herself and becoming an adult.”

Dixon has continued to flourish while living with her brother. She has danced with him on the Grammys stage and appeared in the video for his hit song “Blame It.” She also serves as a global ambassador for the Global Down Syndrome Foundation.

“People with Down syndrome really can have an amazing life,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, the foundation's president and co-founder.

Foxx and Dixon share a light moment with NBC's Kate Snow. The Oscar-winning actor credits his younger sister for giving him perspective. Kate Snow

“She's got a brother who loves her, she’s got a great family, she does interesting things, she has things to look forward to — just like a typical person,” Whitten added.

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes a wide range of developmental and physical disabilities. Decades ago, many children with Down syndrome were institutionalized and died young. Today, many people with the condition live with their families, attend mainstream schools and live longer lives.

“More and more are looking at college, more and more are looking to get married. Many are looking for job opportunities,” Whitten said.

Foxx’s interview on Dateline airs Friday at 10 p.m. ET/9 p.m. CT.