Tamera Mowry-Housley made a teary-eyed return to "The Real" Monday, following the death of her niece, Alaina Housley, a victim in the Thousand Oaks shooting on Nov. 7.
"When Alaina would walk in a room, she would change the atmosphere," the "Sister, Sister" star said of the 18-year-old Pepperdine freshman, getting choked up. Mowry-Housley has been married to journalist Adam Housley since 2011.
"I met Alaina when she was 5, and the Housleys – we were a group of 10, meaning whenever we were together, we were together," the host shared. "I'm very blessed to have an amazing mother-in-law, father-in-law, sister-in-law, brother-in-law. So, they are my family, along with my immediate family.
"We all get along, and Alaina was my little sister," she continued. "She was my niece from marriage, but she was my friend and my sister from my heart."
Mowry-Housley also touched on what needs to be done to eradicate these types of tragedies.
"I believe that it starts from within," she said. "Our country – and it's sad to say this – but you have to be living underneath a rock to not believe these words: our country is sick. It's diseased, it needs healing. It needs healing from within."
Mowry-Housley and her husband expressed their grief in a statement to USA TODAY confirming Alaina's death.
"Our hearts are broken. We just learned that our niece Alaina was one of the victims of last night’s shooting at Borderline bar in Thousand Oaks," the couple stated via their joint representative, Chantal Artur. "Alaina was an incredible young woman with so much life ahead of her, and we are devastated that her life was cut short in this manner. We thank everyone for your prayers and ask for privacy at this time."
Since her death, Mowry-Housley also remembered her late niece on Instagram.
"My sweet, sweet Alaina. My heart breaks," she wrote in tribute on Nov. 8. "I’m still in disbelief. It’s not fair how you were taken and how soon you were taken from us."
"You stole my heart," she continued in the post. "I will miss our inside jokes, us serenading at the piano. Thank you for being patient with me learning how to braid your hair, and I will never forget our duet singing the national anthem at Napa’s soccer game. I love you. I love you. I love you."
In Mowry-Housley's absence, the week following the shooting, her "Real" co-hosts paid tribute to Alaina and discussed gun control.
"We don't even have time to grieve before the next (shooting) happens," Loni Love said. "This time it directly affected members of our family. How do you begin to process something like this?"
Contributing: Anika Reed