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Chong: Howell events "an emotional roller coaster"
Wed May 8, 2:36 PM ET

LOS ANGELES (LBOZ) - Speaking publicly for the first time since yesterday's dramatic turn of events involving China Northern Airlines Flight 6136, the former wife of actor C. Thomas Howell described her state of mind as "an emotional roller coaster" and expressed her desire to see the actor "back on his feet."

Actress Rae Dawn Chong, the daughter of comedian Tommy Chong, was married to Howell from 1989 to 1991, and has a daughter, Sylvie, from that marriage. The two starred together in 1986's box office success "Soul Man" and its 1990 sequel, "Far Out Man."

"I don't know what to think," Chong said in a radio interview Wednesday, about 24 hours after the crash of Flight 6136 into Dalian Bay off the northeastern coast of China. "When I first heard about the crash, I was sick thinking that he was on that plane. Then when he was found alive, I prayed so hard for him. I was in shock when they called to tell me he was dead. And then for him to be alive again, it is just so much to take in."

Chong and Howell have remained close friends since their divorce, sharing joint custody of their daughter and frequently attending industry events together, most recently a luncheon honoring Black History Month held by the cable network Showtime, for which Howell had been developing a project as a writer/producer.

"It's a miracle. I am exhausted, but I am truly, truly blessed," Chong said. "I can't wait to see Tom's face again." Chong gained fame in the 1980's in acclaimed films such as "Beat Street" (1984) and "The Color Purple" (1985). Now a single mother, she is scheduled to travel to Dalian later this week to accompany her former husband on his return trip to the United States.

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