Valerie Bertinelli Discovers Her Great-Grandmother’s Fornication

    August 15, 2014
    Sean Patterson
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Actress Valerie Bertinelli got a bit of a surprise this week when it was revealed that her grandmother was born out of wedlock.

The secret was revealed when Bertinelli appeared on Who Do You Think You Are?, a series in its fifth season on cable channel TLC. Who Do You Think You Are? is an American remake of a British series that attempts to make genealogy compelling to a mass audience. The series takes celebrities on a tour of their past, uncovering their ancestors with the help of genealogists. Past celebrities who have appeared on Who Do You Think You Are? include Susan Sarandon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Martin Sheen, Zooey Deschanel, Cindy Crawford, and Steve Buscemi.

During Bertinelli’s episode the actress traveled from Scranton, Pennsylvania to Torino, Italy to London in search of her roots. The biggest surprise she uncovered may seem like a humorous detail in a modern context, but is something that may have been scandalous nearly a century ago.

What she discovered was undeniable proof that her great-grandmother was guilty of fornication. Documents uncovered on the show indicate that her grandmother was born in April of 1908. That is two years before her great-grandmother was married in 1910. It was revealed that Bertinelli’s great-grandmother and great-grandfather claimed Bertinelli’s grandmother as their legitimate daughter when they wed.

The Long Island University history professor that helped Bertinelli uncover the scandal explained that money may have been a factor, stating that a proper church wedding would have been expensive during the early 20th century and that a dowry payment may also have been a hindrance to marriage.

Bertinelli is best known for her role as Barbara Cooper in the long-running sitcom One Day at a Time. She is currently starring in the TV Land series Hot in Cleveland.

Other celebrities already featured in this year’s season of Who Do You Think You Are? include actress Rachel McAdams and Cynthia Nixon of Sex and the City fame. Kelsey Grammer and Lauren Graham will appear in this season’s final two episodes later this month.

Image via Angela George/Wikimedia Commons


    oh lord.. but these celebs are so self-centered.. trying to gain attention that her great-grandmother banged? 100 years ago? noooooooooo…..

    • Coco

      She didn’t write the article did she? So how is she trying to get attention? You make no sense at all.

  • Menachem

    And now she’s working with her great-grandmas favorite actress…hahaha

    • Coco

      You’re not the least bit funny!

  • Coco

    Whoever wrote this is an idiot and clearly did not watch the entire episode! There was so much more to her discoveries than this bit of nonsense. What about her grandmother having to play dead because her husband tried to shoot her as she laid in bed? What about being a descendant from King Edward? No? Not interesting?

    • Caroline Mcclain

      This bit of information of a baby born out of wedlock is not nonsense. Often, in the past, a child born out of wedlock was often called a bastard child and was scorned by society at large. Things have changed these days, but children suffered for what the mother did in those days, for centuries.

  • chrisarveson

    So what?

    • Caroline Mcclain


  • Dr. Weezil

    People really don’t know their family histories? Sad.

  • Chris

    Great headline. I hope you got more from the episode than that. How about her direct connection to King Edward I ? That’s more notable than a story about a child born out of wedlock 105 years ago, which was more common than you think.

  • Kevin McGrath

    Some people do useful things like cleaning bathrooms or digging ditches. Then you have people like this Writer………

  • Barbara Sue

    Fornication! What’s next? Obviously her great grandmother was a light woman and her great grandfather was guilty of bastardry. We are in 1908…oh wait. Btw, my great-great grandparents ran away and got married in 1882. Their first son was born seven months later. There were lot’s of birth certificates “doctored” in those days

  • Really?

    I’m So glad Family History sites are using D.N.A. more and more these days..
    It Seriously demonstrates that persons need not be a B’ tard forever..

  • gwing

    with all the Hollywood and inner-city bastards being born, why is this news? Back then some were too poor to get married, but now millionaires do it for fun and inner-city do it for fun and benefits.