When Hollywood power couple Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick agreed to have their family’s history explored by Finding Your Roots they found out more than they bargained for — they’re cousins!
Genealogist Henry Louis Gates, Jr. led the research on Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, wed for 23 years, for the upcoming television show Finding Your Roots. The 10-part series for PBS is set to launch March 25.
Of the surprising discovery in the Bacon-Sedgwick families the historian explained, “It turns out they share two things — they both are descendants from people who owned slaves, and they are indeed distant cousins.”
“We don’t have any prior agreements with anyone [over what could be disclosed] and we just did the stories,” Gates added of the show’s approach. “We have a team of genealogists. We have different genealogists for different people — some are more expert on African-Americans, some on Jewish people, some on Ashkenazi-Jewish people, some on Asian people. But whatever we find, we try to boil it down to three or four narrative arcs.”
Other famous names shocked by discoveries in their family’s past? “Harry Connick, Jr. did not want to know he had Confederate ancestors, I’m sure,” shared Gates. “We tell them [stars] and it’s a total surprise.”
The genealogist continued, “[We discovered] Robert Downey, Jr., two generations back… [there was] a murder in his family. He had no idea. I’m getting him reading the headlines from the New York Times about the murder of these ancestors.”
No further word on other famous names expected to appear on the PBS series, though it seems Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick’s relation may be the biggest shocker of them all.
Quick with the jokes, Gates concluded, “Talk about six degrees of separation, right?”