A look inside. Amber Smith (nee Bartlett) said that she and her husband Granger Smith are still receiving messages in which people blame them for the death of their son River in 2019.
Granger and Amber Smith Family Photo Album
On Monday, July 4, the 40-year-old actress shared screenshots of long, accusatory personal messages in her Instagram story. A representative for Amber and the country singer confirmed that River died at the age of 3 in June 2019 after a “tragic drowning at home,” and critical questions have not stopped since, according to the Dallas graduate.
“Why wasn’t he protected and monitored properly?” one critic wrote in a lengthy message posted on Monday. “It’s not my business, I’m not trying to be cruel, but to drown a beautiful baby and then just give birth to another baby, for example… oh, sorry about that, we’ll just replace it. How are you guys coping with the knowledge that his death could have been prevented 100 percent? And then just move on?”
Amber and Granger, 42, share River’s older siblings, Lincoln, 8, and London, 7, and they had a son, Maverick, 11 months, more than two years after River’s death.
The former American crime star sarcastically captioned the screenshot: “It’s none of her business, and she doesn’t judge or try to be cruel.”
She added: “The Lord is my strength when we are still, three years later, receiving these messages.”
Amber Smith on Instagram. Courtesy of Amber Smith/Instagram
On Tuesday, July 5, Amber shared a screenshot of the comment on Instagram. “Why are you such irresponsible parents?!?” — the user asked. “Teach kids to swim, protect the pool, PROTECT your children! It’s your fault, you KILLED your winning child. Really disgusting.”
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In response, Amber quoted James 3:6 (“The tongue is also fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body”) and added that she had learned to forgive those who make hateful comments.
“I can’t blame these people. We live in a fallen world,” she said. “It took me 3 years for these comments not to hurt me, but I forgive them. I am rooted in Jesus.”
After the tragic death of the baby, grieving parents created the River Kelly Fund to finance various purposes, including helping children in need and wildlife conservation.
The family also took steps to prevent another drowning. Granger reported that Maverick completed his 10th swimming rescue lesson in April.
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“My brain is blown up,” the Country Things singer signed the Instagram video at the time. “He can barely crawl, but now he can hold his breath, wriggle his body, find air, swim on his back and cry. He can do this by falling headfirst, feet first, or in any other orientation. He has the skills to swim until help comes.”
That was before Maverick even had time to say “mom.” Amber revealed on Tuesday that the little guy finally called her for the first time.