All families have secrets.
Mine. Yours. Every single one of them.
And sometimes people keep those things hidden from others in order to protect them or just because they don’t think certain folks need to know specific info.
People on AskReddit discussed the big family secrets that came spilling out.
1. Family history.
“After my grandfather passed, we found out he had fathered a child when he was posted in Italy during WWII.
He never knew. His mother intercepted any letters from the Italian girl. He came home, met and married my grandmother and had 4 children.
I forget who in the family found out and how. It’s crazy to think we have a whole Italian family out there!To clarify I’m in the UK, not that it’s relevant to the story.
My oldest aunt is 77 so this ‘kid’ would be at least 79 by now I would think. We’ve considered doing the DNA testing but some family members aren’t comfortable with how those companies could use the information.
It’s a really sad story, but if his mother hadn’t intercepted the letters, I wouldn’t exist. It’s a weird place to be in emotionally!”
2. The truth.
“That my parents “had” to get married.
They always told us they got married in 1961, but it was 1962, 3 months before my sister was born.
What’s amusing is that my father was an accountant who was insanely fast with math. Whenever he was asked how many years they’d been married, he’d be off by one.
My mother would correct him through clenched teeth and then my father would nod and agree.”
3. This is nuts.
“That my grandfather was an atomic soldier.
Instead of sending him to fight in the Korean War, they sent him to Nevada, where (after having him turn away from the initial flash) he witnessed the mushroom cloud. After that was over, he was ordered to march to the detonation point, where he was unwittingly exposed to high amounts of radiation.
Luckily for my family, my grandpa is now in his 90s (even after a few cancer scares) and the rest of us (my mom, aunt, cousins, sister, and I) are cancer-free and fairly healthy, but this is medical information that we really should have known earlier!”
4. A sad story.
“As a young teenager, my grandma shot her pe**phile father in the back while he was sleeping. He had been molesting her and all her siblings.
She ran away after being hidden by her brother for some time. Her father survived though. Thankfully my grandma never faced any legal consequences, but she was bat-s**t crazy until the day she d**d.
My aunt told me at her funeral because I asked why grandma was the way she was.”
“When my mother fell ill and I took over her finances I found thousands of dollars of gambling debt on her credit cards.
Then I found adoption papers for a child she’d had before me that she’d never mentioned.
Then another family member told me my dad didn’t die in a car crash but committed s**cide in prison.”
6. Just found out.
“Last week I discovered that my dad d**d two years ago … And no one bothered to tell me.
I’d been looking for him. He was something off a drifter and most likely had Asperger’s. I’m his only child.
I stumbled across his headstone on findagrave.com while digging through Ancestry.
His marker was labeled “beloved brother”. My aunts and uncles are pieces of s**t … I’m not hard to find.
I don’t even know how he d**d. He d**d alone though. VA paid for his burial.”
7. Another child.
“My grandma had a daughter she gave up for adoption before she married my grandpa and had their 4 kids.
The daughter found my family through distant cousins or something and my grandpa was like “Cool! More family!”
But my grandma wants nothing to do with her and told my mom and aunt that they aren’t to contact the daughter until she dies.”
“When I was 28, I found out that my dad was not my biological father.
The news came out via the following: my dad was battling depression and was s**cidal, so I had just flown home to try to take care of him and rescue him from my mom’s wrath. My mom had verbally and emotionally abused him during their entire relationship. He loved her so much, and he tolerated it.
Well, during a solemn walk w/ my dad, as I tried to help him out, he confided that he’s not my biological dad, and he went on to tell me he knew this all along but my mom lied to him and tried to convince him that he was my biological father. He knew he wasn’t, but he wanted to play the role.
When I was 10 years old, my mom finally confessed this to him, and he was worried that upon hearing the news, officially, he’d somehow let this affect his relationship with me.
So, when I was 28 years old, during this walk w/ my dad, as he pours out this story to me, he frames it by telling me that his two most proud items in his life are: (1) how I turned out / his raising me; (2) that he had completely forgot about the news my mom told him earlier in that day (when I was 10), about him not being my biological father, and that it was only upon tucking me in at night (when I was 10), that it briefly crossed his mind.
It was at that point that he knew nothing would ever come between us and our father-son relationship would be as awesome as ever.
He also confided that my mom did hard drugs while pregnant with me, and this broke his heart to witness firsthand. They were very poor. My dad grew up in a foster home without parents.
My mom grew up w/ 6 siblings and ill-equipped parents. She dropped out of 9th grade, whereas all of her other siblings dropped out earlier — many of them are barely literate.
I’m now mid-30s, and tragically, my dad committed s**cide mid-March 2020, right as COVID was hitting. I was out of the country at the time but immediately flew 30 hours (30-min layover) and made it in time for his funeral.
I do everything in his honor.”
“We went to my grandmother’s for Christmas dinner like we did every year and my uncle drank too much, and kind of hinted that he had an affair with my mother. A couple of months and two DNA tests later we found out my sister is actually his daughter.
My dad never spoke to his brother again. And of course, my parents got divorced. And I needed a lot of therapy… and chocolate.
Gosh we are trash!”
10. The wedding.
“Great grandparents’ 60th anniversary party at hotel ballroom with cousins/2nd cousins who hadn’t seen each other in years. My mom and I were talking to my grandfather.
Mom: Wow. I haven’t seen Chuck, Fred, and a Claire in years.
Me: no kidding. When do you think we’ll get a group this big back together?
Mom: Gramps’ bday is in 6 months. We’ll see some people then.
Me: 6 months? Isn’t it his 60th?
Gramps: Huh. I never thought about that.
My grandfather was 60 when he realized his parents had a shotg** wedding.”
11. Confession time.
“When my sister was diagnosed with cancer and her survival chances were low, it inevitably came out that she wasn’t my sister.
My parents must have felt we should all know the truth just in case.
She survived her treatment, and will always be my sister.”
12. Huge scandal.
“My grandmother recently d**d.
She was famous in our town for her amazing cooking/catering, in particular her turkey dinners. Notably, her gravy was absolutely amazing. So delicious.
She had a heart attack several years ago and her near-d**th experience convinced her to share some of her secret recipes with me, all except for her gravy recipe. When she d**d this spring, I was going through her pantry and found an entire bucket of KFC gravy mix.
She was literally using KFC gravy mix as a base to make her incredible gravy. Huge scandal.”
“Due to 23&Me, my Dad learned that his recently deceased father was not his biological father.
It wasn’t a situation related to my grandma cheating either, it was a sperm donation. So, they knew this was the case his entire life.
Pretty crazy they never told him, his parents did not pass until he was ~65 years old.
Talk about a curveball.”
14. Uh oh.
“One week before my younger sister’s wedding, my dad decided to call myself, both my sisters, and my mother (his ex-wife) to meet at his house for something “very important he needed to tell us.” We all thought he had cancer or something. We were very worried.
Once we were all there, he sobbingly confessed to having a 5 year old son living in the town next to ours, which means the kid was conceived and born while my parents were still married. He claimed he didn’t know for sure that the kid was his, and he had only recently gotten a DNA test.
He showed us a picture of our half-brother. He looks EXACTLY like my dad.
My mother was devastated.”
15. In denial.
“A cousin in my family had been secretly stalking/harassing another cousin for like 3 years, to a really bad degree. He eventually admitted it, however didn’t face any consequences.
Never gave any good reason for it at all and didn’t even know the other cousin very well, he just randomly decided to start doing it.
A lot of family was in denial over it because he seemed like a nice guy.”
“When I was in my early 20s I got a very distressed call from my mother.
It turns out my uncle (married for many years and father of 3 adult children) was in the hospital for trying to commit s**cide.
He had tried to commit s**cide by overdosing on his antidepressants.
He was on antidepressants because he was depressed that he was HIV+.
He was HIV+ because he had been having s** with male s** workers.
Everything was kept hush hush and my uncle and aunt remain married to this day, 10+ years later.
I don’t have contact with my family anymore for other reasons so I haven’t seen my uncle for over 5 years but I’m glad HIV medications have come such a long way.”
“Grandma admitted on her d**thbed that her maiden name wasn’t Asher (English), it was Oscher (Jewish). Confirmed by DNA testing my dad.
My grandfather was off-the-boat Irish, so my dad spent his entire life thinking he was half English and half Irish. The DNA test said 49% Irish, 50% Ashkenazi, so grandma was as ethnically Jewish as can be.
In retrospect, my dad and grandma had a set of about 20 Yiddish words that they’d use in casual conversation, but we always assumed that was just a Queens thing.”
18. The truth came out.
“When my dad was about 18 he got into an argument with his younger brother (my uncle, bit of a d**k now, about 15 at the time) ended the argument by telling my dad that his dad wasnt his biological father.
He confronted my nan and the truth came out. The worst part was the whole village knew but not my dad.
Mad respect for my grandad though, he married a woman who already had a child in the 50s.
Something which was quite controversial back then.”
19. An affair.
“My grandmother had an affair with the gynecologist who delivered my dad.
We found some of the letters they exchanged years after she d**d.
The best part? His name was Dr. TACTILE.”
“My dad passed away 2 years ago.
He and my mom were married for 34 years. He was a good dad and husband, I have no ill-memories of him.
Just found out that for the middle 10 years he was living a double life and had many mistresses on the side.
Now my whole childhood feels like a sham. I don’t know what was real and what was fabricated.”
21. A private person.
“That my uncle was married for ten years.
When we read his wife’s book obituary in the newspaper. He never mentioned getting married, and he hasn’t mentioned her passing since.
We always knew that he liked his privacy, but dang…”
“This happened in the 1960s or 70s. One of my mom’s like 2nd or 3rd cousins shot and k**led his father.
The father was a raging al**holic and very abusive to his wife and the son, especially when he was dr**k.
The father came home d**nk one night, started abusing the mom, and son had had enough and shot his father, k**ling him.
The guy spent a few years in prison for maybe manslaughter or something. I think he lives a fairly normal life now.”
23. The fixer.
“My grandfather went to prison for trying to fix a professional baseball game.
Originally he was caught up in a vice sting for procuring white s** workers for professional Black athletes but they couldn’t make that charge stick because the athletes’ identities were all kept secret (the one relative who probably knew just passed this week) and nobody was going to believe the testimony of a white girl who had s** with Black men for money in 1959.”
24. The real story.
“That my uncle was not m**dered by his wife. That he actually d**d from auto erotic asphyxiation.
We were all told as kids that his wife lured him into the bathroom and hung him from the door knob.
A few years ago my aunt let slip that he was jerking off and had his d**k in his hand when they found him.”
“I started having problems with my teeth. Spontaneous abscess that resulted in multiple root canals.
My dentist did some looking into what the cause might be and found some really odd abnormalities with my incisors roots and nerves ( the teeth that had been afflicting me)…so he sent out requests for help to a couple of professors he knew in the field.
When my next appointment came up he was really quiet for a bit before verbally stumbling about… It turns out that what was happening with my teeth was a classic sign of inbreeding and he was super uncomfortable giving me the news.
I brought it up to my mom and she just was like: “Oh well yeah, didn’t you know?” WTF!? of course I didn’t know!!! Turns out that not very far back in the family tree, several of my relatives decided that it was a good idea to get married to one another….and no one bothered to mention it…ever.
The small town where I live is 85% my relatives, no joke. I hadn’t even met all of them, that’s how many there are.”
How about you?
Have any major secrets come out in your family lately?
Talk to us in the comments!