17 Celebs Whose Lives Were Shaken Up By Big Family Secrets

Recently, Chrissy Teigen took a DNA test and thought she discovered a long-lost identical twin sister — but it turned out the "twin" she matched with was actually just a DNA test she previously took under a fake name then forgot about.

Closeup of Chrissy Teigen
Chrissy Teigen / Via Instagram: @chrissyteigen

While getting matched as your own secret twin seems like a pretty one-in-a-million situation, plenty of people have unlocked family secrets through DNA tests. Even people who haven't taken a test have accidentally stumbled on something they didn't know about their past.

Here are 17 celebs who discovered family secrets later in life:

1.Rihanna reportedly didn't know she had three older half-siblings until she was 15, and her oldest sister, Kandy, showed up at her front door out of the blue.

Closeup of Rihanna
James Devaney / GC Images / Via Getty

She and her two younger brothers, Rorrey and Rajad, discovered that they had two older half-sisters, Kandy and Samantha, and a half-brother, Jamie, from her dad's previous relationships.

2.In her memoir I'm Glad My Mom Died, Jennette McCurdy revealed that, after her mother's death, she learned that the man who raised her, Mark, was not her biological father. Her bio dad was actually a local jazz musician named Andrew.

Closeup of Jennette McCurdy
Taylor Hill / WireImage / Via Getty

Mark decided to tell her the truth because his girlfriend — his dead wife's best friend, Karen — encouraged him to.

Jennette met Andrew after one of his concerts, which she attended with a group of supportive friends. He told her that he knew about her, but he hadn't reached out because he didn't know if her mom had told her the truth.

3.Jack Nicholson was raised to believe that his grandmother, Ethel May, was his bio mom, and his birth mother, June, was his sister. He didn't learn the truth until he was 37. Time magazine's researchers were doing a profile on him, and they called to get confirmation of what they'd discovered — June was actually his bio mom, and his bio dad was still alive.

Closeup of Jack Nicholson
Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

In reality, June gave birth at 18. Her boyfriend at the time was a man named Don, who was married to someone else. Ethel May ran Don off then raised Jack as her own to protect her daughter from the shame she would've faced at the time as an unwed mother.

When Jack was 4, June moved away to Miami to pursue a career in entertainment then ended up in LA. At 17, Jack had similar aspirations, so he moved in with her.

When he got that call from Time magazine, he asked them not to publish that part of the story. He called his sister and brother-in-law, Lorraine and Shorty (who were really his aunt and uncle), and they confirmed what the magazine researchers had told him.

Unfortunately, both Ethel May and June had already died, so he wasn't able to talk to either of them about the revelation.

4.When Jackie Chan was a kid, his parents fled to Hong Kong, abandoning him and his siblings in mainland China. Through research for the documentary Traces of a Dragon: Jackie Chan and His Lost Family, he discovered that his dad had been a gang leader and Nationalist spy, and his mom had been a well-known gambler, opium smuggler, and part of Shanghai's underworld.

Closeup of Jackie Chan
Vcg / VCG via Getty Images

As part of the documentary, he got to meet his dad, who told him that he met his mom when he arrested her for drug smuggling.

Jackie also learned of his two half-brothers and two half-sisters.

5.Tim McGraw was raised by his stepdad, Horace Smith, and he went by Tim Smith until college. When he was 11, he was searching for Christmas presents in his mom's closet and stumbled upon his birth certificate. He discovered that his biological father was actually famous MLB pitcher Tug McGraw.

Tim McGraw onstage
Michael Hickey / Getty Images, Focus On Sport / Getty Images

On Larry King Live, Tim said, "I had Tug's baseball card up on my wall. I had a few other people. I wasn't the only kid...I called my mom at work, and of course, she came immediately home. We drove around for a long time, and she explained everything to me. ... Mom got ahold of him and said that I had found out and wanted to meet him. Of course, I did in Houston, Texas. I think he gave up a grand slam that night. ... [I] watched him pitch. It was first time I had ever been out of Louisiana, I think."

6.Liv Tyler thought that her stepdad, Todd Rundgren, was her biological father until she saw her bio dad, Steven Tyler, in concert with her mom. Liv figured it out when she saw Steven's younger daughter, Mia, standing at the side of the stage and noticed their uncanny resemblance.

Liv, Mia, and Steven Tyler
Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

On The Jonathan Ross Show, Liv said, "[Mia] looked exactly like me, and I looked at my mom, and she had tears in her eyes, and I kind of put it all together."

7.For most of his childhood, Sean Astin thought that he was born from an affair his mother, Patty Duke, had with Addams Family star John Astin, who kept their relationship a secret until his divorce, then married her. However, when Sean was 14, Patty confessed that his bio dad was actually Desi Arnaz Jr., who was only 17 during their relationship (she was 23). However, when Sean was 26, he met a relative of Michael Tell, the "total stranger" Patty had married then left after 13 days following her breakup with Desi. The relative suggested a DNA test, so, living his own version of Mamma Mia!, Sean took a paternity test with John, Desi, and Michael. The results believed that Michael was his true biological father.

Closeup of Sean Astin
Roy Rochlin / Getty Images

Sean told People, "If you want to know who I am, John Astin is my father, Michael Tell is my biological father. ... I have a good relationship with Mike. That's who I am. I don't fault anybody, I don't fault myself or Desi, who is like my godfather, I have such a powerful love bond with this man, he's a gorgeous human being."

He maintained close relationships with all three men, who also got along well with each other.

8.After his mother's death, Sir Michael Caine found out that she'd had another son before meeting his father. She kept her oldest child hidden from her husband and two younger sons, but she visited him every Monday, no matter what.

Closeup of Michael Caine
David M. Benett / Dave Benett / Getty Images

In Michael's eyes, his mother's ability to keep that secret for 30 years "made her even more of a powerful woman." He got to know his half-brother.

He told the Belfast Telegraph, "[I] improved things for him a little bit, because she didn't dare ask for money to do it. But I had money by that time. I was quite famous when I met him."

9.Clint Eastwood reportedly didn't know that Laurie Murray, his oldest child, had been born then given up for adoption by her bio mother. Laurie spent 30 years searching for her biological family, then connected with Clint in her 60s.

Laurie Murray, Ruth, and Clint Eastwood
Carlo Allegri / Getty Images

He surprised fans by bringing Laurie, along with his seven other kids, to the premiere of The Mule in 2018.

10.Growing up in Hong Kong, Anthony Wong Chau-sang knew very little about his British father, Frederick William Perry, who left the family when Anthony was 4 and stopped sending him letters when he was 12. After spending decades searching for him, Anthony shared his story with the BBC, which inspired a trio of international women to join his search. Within a few weeks, he was connected with his British half-brothers, twins John and David Perry.

Anthony Wong
Martin Bureau / AFP via Getty Images

When John and David returned home from a cruise, they saw Anthony's BBC video, recognized their father, and reached out to him. The three of them later met up in Hong Kong and immediately bonded.

Their father had already died several decades previously, but he'd never told John and David about his second family in Hong Kong, where he previously worked as a government official.

However, all of the Perrys were excited to welcome Anthony into their family.

Anthony told the BBC, "Dad used to say in his letters that if I was a good boy, he would take care of everything for me. I think he knows I've become a good boy since then, and he's sent two brothers to me."

11.Danny Trejo's mother wasn't part of his life, and growing up with his father's relatives left the actor feeling like he could only "either be a laborer or a gangster or an informant." However, on his episode of Finding Your Roots, he found out that his paternal great grandfather (Cirilo Garay) had owned a home and a grocery store after moving from Mexico to the US. He also learned that his maternal fourth great grandfather (Luciano Agundez) had been "a serious landowner" in Mexico. Danny felt that "this history could've changed [his] whole family's life."

Closeup of Danny Trejo
Manny Hernandez / Filmmagic / Via Getty

He said, "Just knowing when I went down to Cabo San Lucas, my family owned some of that land...I think [this experience has] shined a light on who I am on, where I come from, and who I come from. I'm really proud of the whole deal."

12.When Darryl McDaniels, aka rapper DMC, began researching for his autobiography at 35, he called his parents to ask about the day he was born. To his surprise, they called him back an hour later and revealed that they'd adopted him as a 1-month-old.

Closeup of DMC
Nick Tininenko / Getty Images for 100 Billion Meals Challenge & the Future of Food

Later down the road, he decided to search for his birth mother. With a VH1 documentary crew in tow, he found her after four months. Her name was Berncenia Lovelace. Because she'd been a single mom, her parents made her give her baby up for adoption.

Darryl and Berncenia reunited when he was 41. He also met his sister and two brothers. The experience inspired him to sponsor a camp for kids who'd lost their parents or had been adopted.

13.Actor Judy Lewis's mother, Loretta Young, reportedly hid her in orphanages for the first year and a half of her life, lied about adopting her, and surgically altered her ears when she was 7 all to protect her secret — Judy was born from an affair between Loretta and her The Call of the Wild costar Clark Gable. Two weeks before her wedding, Judy had an identity crisis, and her fiancé informed her that her bio dad's identity was "common knowledge."

Judy Lewis and Loretta Young
Frank Edwards / Getty Images

She didn't learn the full truth about her parents until she was 31.

Loretta had gone through so much trouble to hide everything in order to protect both her career and Clark's. Even after revealing the truth to Judy, Loretta refused to publicly acknowledge that they were biologically related. She agreed to let the story be part of her biography, Forever Young, with the caveat that it not be published until she died.

14.In 2007, Olympic gymnast Dominique Moceanu received a letter from fellow gymnast Jen Bricker — the biological younger sister her parents had given up for adoption because she was born with a disability. Jen had been trying to get in touch with Dominique for four years. They finally met up in 2008, then went public with their story in 2012.

Dominique and Jen
HBO / Via youtube.com

Growing up, Jen looked up to Dominique as a fellow Romanian American. After watching her take home the gold with her team during the 1996 Olympics, Jen was inspired to try gymnastics herself. When she was 16, her parents told her that she was adopted and that her favorite athlete was her biological sister.

15.On his episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, Game of Thrones actor Charles Dance found out that he had two secret half-sisters who were born nearly 50 years before him. His father, Walter, was 72 when Charles was born in 1956. The actor's sister Norah was born in 1898, and his sister Mary was born in 1903.

Closeup of Charles Dance
Niklas Halle'n / AFP via Getty Images

He also discovered that his dad was much older than he thought he was. Originally, he believed Walter was in his 50s when he died.

Though both his half-sisters had already died, the show connected him with Norah's granddaughter, Noneen.

16.When Keyshia Cole was 2, she was adopted by Yvonne and Leon Cole, who were close friends with her birth mother, Frankie Lons. However, she didn't know her biological father until she was 34. After years of searching, a paternity test concluded that he was famous boxing coach Virgil Hunter.

Closeup of Keyshia Cole
Johnny Nunez / Getty Images for BET

Keyshia traveled to Oakland to get to know Virgil.

17.And finally, while on a joint family vacation in Greece, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson learned that there's a chance they could be half-brothers when Matthew's mom said she knew (and seemingly implied she may have had a relationship with) Woody's dad.

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey
David M. Benett / Dave Benett / Getty Images

On Kelly Ripa's Let's Talk Off Camera podcast, Matthew said, "[My mom] says, 'Woody, I kneeeew your dad.' Everyone was aware of the ellipses that my mom left after 'kneeeew.' It was a loaded K-N-E-W... We went on to unpack what this ‘kneeeew’ meant and did some math and found out that [Woody’s] dad was on furlough at the same time that my mom and dad were in their second divorce. ... Then, there's possible receipts and places out in West Texas where there might have been a gathering, or a meeting, or a 'kneeeew' moment."

At the time, the actors were "on the precipice" of taking a DNA test, but Matthew struggled with the decision.

He said, "Look, it's a little easier for Wood to say, 'Come on, let's do [the DNA tests],' because what’s the skin in it for him? It's a little harder for me because he's asking me to take a chance to go, 'Wait a minute, you're trying to tell me my dad may not be my dad after 53 years of believing that?' I got a little more skin in the game."