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    The Married Cousins, The Hidden Half-Sibling, And 24 Other Family Secrets That Family Members Refuse To Address

    "My great-grandpa presumably died when his sailboat sank in a lake. No body was ever found, though, and I don't think the boat was either. Some in our family think he faked his death, but no one knows why he would've done that."

    All families have a few skeletons in their closet. Whether the secret is as small as an embarrassing drunk Christmas no one likes to discuss, or as big as an affair that resulted in secret half-siblings, there's bound to be at least one topic that gets silenced at family reunions.

    Reddit user u/Hey_Ms_Parker posed the question, "What's your 'never spoken of' family secret?" and the thread quickly filled with hundreds of wild, juicy secrets that would surely cause a stir at any family function. Here are some of the most interesting:

    Note: This post contains stories that mention abuse and animal cruelty.

    1. "My dad had a secret boyfriend for over a year that he met on Ashley Madison until we (my mom and I) walked in and caught them. They talked it out, she eventually forgave him, and besides one quick 'everything is okay' chat with me, it has never been mentioned again."

    u/ellsellsgg

    2. "My auntie divorced her cheating pilot husband. He had been fired for over 10 years already, but kept dressing up in his uniform to fly all over the world to visit his international mistresses. He blew through all the family savings, and when my aunt finally found out what was going on, he owned over 80 leather jackets, 20 Rolexes, and 800 designer shirts."

    u/atomicturdburglar

    A pilot

    3. "My grandfather was a gigolo. He drove yachts for the rich society ladies while their husbands worked, and he fathered many of their children. Ancestry.com DNA matches have been interesting."

    u/weirdkid71

    4. "My aunt and cousin embezzled a lot of money from my grandfather's business. They were skimming off the credit card machines. My grandpa eventually found out, and they left. No charges were filed because they were 'family.' My uncle was going to divorce my aunt afterwards, but suffered a massive stroke that caused a heart attack, leaving him unable to speak past a couple of words. My aunt is now his caregiver, which is the only reason she's still around. I haven't seen my cousin since everything went down."

    u/Not_Mr_Rogers23

    Someone putting a stack of cash in their pocket

    5. "My mom and my stepfather are cousins, and they have two kids (my half-siblings). We don't talk about it, but everyone knows and laughs when they remember the wedding. The photographer called the brothers and sisters of the bride and the groom for a photo, and then he said, 'Now, the cousins of the bride and the groom!' and no one moved. They always WHEEZE when they remember the photographer's face."

    u/BreadWithChancho

    6. "My dad is a successful person, but not tech savvy. I started an Instagram account for him, and of course, the followers started coming in. The followers didn’t know I (his daughter) was running it. A few weeks in, I started getting DMs from this same girl. I opened them and found out I apparently have a sister. My father cheated on my mother and has a hidden kid. I’m the only one who knows, and it will probably stay that way."

    u/Wannabeslytherin

    A letter notification

    7. "My brother was ‘muscle’ for a NJ mob boss. On his deathbed, he told my sister-in-law where she could find keys to a self storage locker. It contained five attaché cases full of cash. She moved to Aruba after his funeral."

    u/ZevChann

    8. "My grandfather owned a wildly successful paint store that was a front for arms/drug dealing."

    u/Justasimplewanker21

    Paint swatches

    9. "A relative was on new psychiatric meds that weren't working, and he told his psychiatrist that he couldn't control himself and that he was going to commit a robbery. The psychiatrist didn't take him seriously, so he went out, robbed a place, came back to the office, and dropped the bag of stolen money on the psychiatrist's coffee table. Naturally, he did some time for that."

    u/SailorVenus23

    10. "My aunt stole my uncle’s credit card and ruined his credit for 10 years. She also served time for stealing over $30,000 from when she worked as a bank teller. I had no idea until my mom told me a few months ago."

    u/luluz1vert

    Someone using a credit card while on their laptop

    11. "My great-grandfather was a bootlegger in 1920s Detroit. He would drive into Canada with his 1924 Lexington touring sedan, load up numerous hidden compartments with booze, and drive it back into Detroit. The roads back then were not the best, and he hit a chuckhole and broke the axle. He made it to a phone and called the police to report his brand-new Lexington had been stolen at some point while he was in a bar. The police found it and found all the hidden booze, but returned the car to him since he reported it. 'Yes, sir. We think the Purple Gang stole your car to transport whiskey from Canada across the border,' the police told him. They gave him a police report since he had auto insurance back then, and the car was repaired without charge to him."

    u/Car-n-Truck-Guy

    12. "My grandfather and his brother were in an orphanage as kids (their parents imprisoned for tax evasion or something). The orphanage burned down, along with all of their paperwork. They were put in foster care, and years later, we all found out that they switched identities to mess with the foster family or something. Either way, we don’t really know if my grandfather was Edward or George."

    u/SuitedT8

    Two men sitting on a park bench

    13. "My aunt killed her cat because she wanted a dog. We don’t talk to her anymore. Not for that reason specifically, but it didn’t help."

    u/NOTDevilDeadly

    14. "My cousin is adopted, and she doesn't know. Her mother was paid to get pregnant and have her. It's a business her mother runs. Also, her younger sister was adopted by my other uncle, too, after paying their mother again. So, they both think they're cousins, but they're actually siblings from a woman who is getting paid just to have children. They have eight other siblings that they don't know about."

    u/okonomiyaki-

    A pregnant woman

    15. "My would-be uncle was kidnapped just outside his school when he was 7, and my family never saw him again. Apparently, my grandma couldn’t live without another son, so they adopted my uncle."

    u/Massivepoggers

    16. "My aunt was caught stealing bricks from the patio area of a McDonald's while it was open! Broad daylight, full patronage, she was just loading up her rusty van with their bricks for some reason. My uncle happened to be going through the drive-thru and saw this lady stealing bricks, and then, he realized it was her. He called the cops on her (he hated her for various other reasons), and she got arrested. I haven't told anyone since my mom told me to keep it a secret because it's so damn embarrassing to know her."

    u/healthydoseofsarcasm

    A pile of bricks

    17. "My great-great aunt, who was in her mid-90s at the time, let it slip that her grandfather (my great-great-great grandfather) was apparently extremely abusive to her mother and grandmother. One day, her grandmother couldn't take it anymore, so she put a little something extra in the beans and killed him. When she mentioned this, she suddenly had this look on her face like she'd messed up big time by spilling the beans (pun intended), before remembering that everyone involved had been dead for the greater part of a century. Funny thing is, when I was a little kid, I was always terrified of the photograph of him that she had hanging in her living room, but I couldn't explain why. I guess I was able to pick up his vibes or something."

    u/Octopus-Pants

    18. "My dad cheated on my mom with my aunt — not my aunt by blood, but my uncle’s wife. My parents are still happily married, but my uncle and aunt divorced after everything came out."

    u/luluz1vert

    A woman taking off her wedding ring

    19. "My great-grandpa presumably died when his sailboat sank in a lake. No body was found, though, and I don't think the boat was either. Some in our family think he faked his death, but no one knows why he would've done that."

    u/jagarskarpet

    20. "My nan (my dad’s mum) set their family home on fire and spent a night in jail."

    u/Stardust-Fury

    An empty jail cell

    21. "My dad ran off to another country with my mum's sister and married her. He left behind five kids and a wife with MS. This was 20 years ago. Now, he wants to come back and be in our lives."

    u/_corbae_

    22. "The guy on my mom's birth certificate is NOT her dad. My mom doesn't know, and everyone in the family who did know literally took the secret to the grave. Family lore says he left my mom and her mom (my grandmother), and no one knew why. After a year or two, my grandmother abandoned my mom as well and left her in the care of my great-grandmother (my mom's grandma) who then raised her from the time she was 3. My mom's bio-mom moved to another state with the guy who is on my mom's birth certificate and had four more kids with him. She was never a part of my mom's life again. My mom saw her every once in a while as a kid, but that stopped after a few years, and she never met the guy on her birth certificate listed as her dad. I found out by accident during lockdown.

    "I was bored and started looking through some military records I had of the guy. I found out that when my mom was born, he had been stationed overseas for a little over a year. He wasn't even in the country when she was conceived. Obviously, her grandma who raised her had to have known. She had an aunt she was very, very close to who had to have known. Her granddad, who she thought of as her father, had to have known. Every last one of them said nothing. I've done DNA testing on mom and myself and tried to figure it out. I've gotten matches who are very close to the point where I'm 70-75% certain that one of their parents is a half-sibling of my mom. None of them will respond to me, so I have no clue which one it is. I've figured out who their parents are, but I can't place any of them in the area where my mom was conceived, and it would've been 60 years ago, so that proves nothing. It's hard to place anyone that far back. This is the big family secret that no one talks about, and no one would even know if I hadn't stumbled upon those records."

    u/agreeingstorm9

    A birth certificate

    23. "My grandma was a call girl for the mob. She also may have driven a getaway car for a bank robbery, but was never arrested."

    u/alittlefaith530

    24. "My father had a 13-year-long affair with the pastor's wife. He's a conservative Christian."

    u/Cassandra_Canmore

    A lipstick kiss on a white shirt

    25. "After she died, we found out that our grandmother secretly gave a baby up for adoption in the 1950s. My mother and uncles were teenagers and never knew she was pregnant. Grandpa died refusing to discuss it. We suspect it was the result of an affair. The sad part is the woman came to us looking for answers, and we didn’t have any."

    u/Dependent-Winner-908

    26. Finally: "I had a half sibling that no one talks about. My parents have been together since they were 16, have been married for 25 years, and had four children. When talking about how they got together, they made it seem like they were each other’s first real relationship. I always just assumed they hit the jackpot and fell in love with the first person they ever dated. However, when I was 15, my dad hosted a big work party at my parents' house. I had a school event that night, so when I got home around 11:00 p.m., my dad was pretty sloshed. I had never seen him this drunk before and honestly found the whole scenario to be pretty funny. He started telling me how proud of me he was. He then started talking about how much worse he was than me when he was my age.

    "He revealed that at 13, he had joined a gang, and at 15, he got his then-girlfriend pregnant. Unfortunately, when his ex-girlfriend was 26 weeks pregnant, she went into labor, and the baby died a couple of hours later. This was apparently enough to set him straight. He moved to Michigan to live with his mom and get away from the gang. He finished high school, met and married my mom, and joined the military. I had an amazing childhood, and it’s all due to my dad working his ass off to provide us with a better life. We haven’t talked about what he said since that night, and I don’t think my siblings know. However, it really helped me understand how much my dad overcame, and I feel so lucky to have him as my dad."

    u/Spiritual_Opinion720

    Does your family have any juicy secrets you're willing to share? Tell us in the comments. 🙊

    Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.