Lu Parker Talks to Robert Shapiro About Loss of His Son and the Secrets to a Strong Marriage


Lu Parker Talks to Robert Shapiro About Loss of His Son and the Secrets to a Strong Marriage


If you take a moment to think about it, chances are you know someone who struggles with alcohol or drug addiction. The truth hits close to home way too often for many of us. I admit that it continues to affect my family, but that is a story I am not ready to tell. 


I have watched friends nearly drink themselves out of a job, a relationship, and even a life. You may be reading this and thinking that you, too, may have an unhealthy connection to alcohol, drugs or even prescription medications. 
Recently, I have been paying more attention to the effects of drug and alcohol addiction after meeting and getting to know Robert and Linell Shapiro. 
Robert, of course, is known worldwide for his role as the defense attorney during the infamous O.J. Simpson trial.  He is also one of the founders of the online legal company, Legal Zoom. Now, he and his wife are also focused on philanthropy after their oldest son Brent died tragically from complications of mixing illegal drugs and alcohol back in 2005.  


Since Brent’s death at age 24, the Shapiros have worked tirelessly to make sure this never happens to another family. Shortly after Brent’s death, the couple, who have been together nearly 50 years, created the Brent Shapiro Foundationwhich focuses on fighting drug abuse and dependency. In recent years, the Shapiros have been focused on a specific project called Brent’s Club. The program partners with Boys and Girls Clubs of America and encourages youth 11-17 years of age to stay sober.  The young members agree to random non-evasive saliva drug tests. If they test negative, the youth are then rewarded with electronics, field trips, and other prizes.   


Since the inception of the six clubs, the program has a 100% success rate. I believe that number is a testament that the younger generation wants to make a change. They are proving they want to succeed! Robert and Linell and their son Grant offer them that opportunity every day. To top it off, if a Brent’s Club member stays sober and completes the program, they are offered a full scholarship to the college of their choice.   


I recently sat down with Robert and Linell at their home. They shared with me Brent’s story of addiction and described to me how they want their son to be remembered. We also talked about commitment. They have been married since 1970.  Robert and Linell have endured the media exposure of the O.J. Simpson trial together and the tragic loss of their oldest son Brent. Some might say those circumstances would simply prove to be too much for a couple to survive, but the Shapiros have a much different view.
Brent Shapiro Foundation is 100% volunteer.  


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: As an Emmy and Genesis Award-winning journalist, Lu Parker has worked in the television news business as an anchor and reporter for more than two decades. She is also a former Miss USA, author and animal advocate. Lu has won four Emmys for her work in the television industry. She has also been honored with two Genesis Awards from the Humane Society United States for her outstanding reporting and creative portrayals of animal protection issues including investigations into Puppy Mills, Elephant Abuse, and Beagle Lab Testing. You can find her anchoring and reporting the news in Los Angeles, California on KTLA Channel 5. She currently anchors the 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. newscasts and reports on health and wellness. For more insight into health-related issues and Lu’s opinion on living a more happy and successful life, be sure to check out her BLOG. During her career, Lu has interviewed hundreds of celebrities including Ben Affleck, Bradley Cooper, Aretha Franklin, Matt Damon, Clint Eastwood, Robert Pattinson, Barbra Streisand, Jennifer Lawrence, & Kanye West. See her in action here. In 2016, she partnered with Maria Shriver and KTLA creating The Path with Lu Parker. The television segment showcases the paths of individuals who aspire to inspire as Lu interviews influential people and celebrities who are making real change in the world. In addition to her KTLA anchoring and reporting, Lu has appeared on television shows such as ABC’s Scandal, TNT’s Major Crimes, and NBC’s Days of our Lives. Prior to her career in broadcasting, Lu was a ninth-grade English Literature teacher. While teaching, in 1994, she captured both the Miss South Carolina USA, and Miss USA titles. In addition, as Miss USA, she placed 4th in the Miss Universe Pageant. After winning the Miss USA title, Lu moved to Los Angeles, California. For a year, she traveled the world making hundreds of appearances. You can read more about her pageant experiences and find valuable competition tips in her book titled “Catching the Crown” The Source for Pageant Competition which is available at Lu is an avid traveler and has visited nearly 30 countries where she has had the opportunity to meet with dignitaries such Prince William and Kate Middleton The Duchess of Cambridge and Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. While on a trip to South Africa, Lu also had the opportunity to discuss human and animal rights during visits with Nelson Mandela and Animal Advocate Jane Goodall. Lu has an English degree from the College of Charleston where she was named Alumnus of the Year. She also holds a Master of Arts degree in Education from The Citadel. Lu has been presented with the Palmetto Award, the highest civilian honor given in the state of South Carolina, and has been recognized in the South Carolina Congressional Record twice as an outstanding South Carolinian. In her free time, Lu is an advocate for homeless animals. In 2010, she created Lu Parker Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping homeless animals and at-risk teenagers through community projects and education. She is an avid polo player, hiker, and writer. Lu has been a vegetarian for over 30 years and became vegan in 2014. She participates in dozens of charity events annually raising money for children, animals, and the needy. Lu lives in Los Angeles with her cat Boogie and dog Monkey. Follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.


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