In a recent video interview with Time magazine online, Mark Wahlberg revealed that during a family gathering, his father oh-so-casually sprung it on him that a few of the strangers present were in fact Wahlberg's brothers from a different mother.
The actor seemed to take the revelation in stride, even laughing when his father added, "Yeah, well there's another one named Donnie but he's pissed because I named your brother Donnie so he's not talking to me anymore."
Family secrets are a mainstay of TV dramas. In Mad Men, Don Draper's mom wasn't really his mom and Peggy Olson's son is being raised as her brother. (Or cousin? I can't seem to get that straight.)
But it happens in real life more often than you think. Here are a few more celebrity family secrets and the backstory on how they were unearthed.
What he found out: At the tender age of 37, Nicholson discovered that his sister, June, was in fact his mother. His entire life he had assumed that his maternal grandmother, Ethel May, was his biological parent. Neither woman coughed up the truth -- even on their deathbeds.
How he found out: A Time magazine reporter called to fact-check the story. Nicholson later received confirmation from his aunt Lorraine (June's sister).
What she found out: The model and actress had no reason not to believe that her pop was rocker Todd Rundgren. In fact, her mom, model Bebe Buell, listed Rundgren's name on the birth certificate. Turns out that when Buell became pregnant by Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, the mom-to-be realized that Tyler wasn't exactly, um, father material. She pleaded with old beau Rundgren to reunite and help raise the pouty-lipped tot. Rundgren agreed and claimed the bambino as his own.
How she found out, in her own words:
"I was actually at one of Todd's shows with my mom. I was sitting there watching Todd play -- was so proud of him, you know, my dad being up there -- and then suddenly my mom said to me, 'I want to introduce you to someone' and I was like 'I dont want to go.' So she pointed at this guy sitting by the bar and I was like 'Is that Mick Jagger's son?' And she laughed so hard. 'No, that's Steven Tyler,' she said. I connected with him immediately -- it was almost like I fell in love with him. I thought about him all the time! I didn't find out he was my dad 'til about a year later ... "
The fascinating thing to me is that Wahlberg and Tyler seemed to have taken all of it in stride.
Do you have a wild story of family secrets?
Image via markwahlbergfan.com