Woman accidently marries her father.....

Sherri - posted on 09/24/2012 ( 15 moms have responded )




Secret revealed: Ohio woman unknowingly married father

By Chelsea J. Carter, CNN

updated 11:06 AM EDT, Sun September 23, 2012


Valerie Spruill, 60, found out her husband was her father in 2004

Spruill's husband-father died in 1998 at the age of 60

Spruill learned the family secret from an uncle

A DNA test on hair taken from a brush proved the claim

(CNN) -- It was a dark secret. The kind that destroys lives, devastates families and decimates faith.

Nobody shared it with Valerie Spruill while her husband was alive. For years after his death, she heard bits of the story. It was something about an absentee father, something about her husband.

None of it made sense, she said. That's not until her uncle finally told her what no one else had: She had unknowingly married the father she never knew.

"It is devastating. It can destroy you," Spruill told CNN late Thursday by telephone. "It almost did."

Spruill, 60, of Doylestown, Ohio, went public with her story this month, first published in the Akron Beacon Journal, with the hopes that it would help others facing what seem like insurmountable problems.

It's a story that has gone viral, attracting attention as faraway as Australia and India where the questions are always the same, she says: How could that happen?

WCPO: How a woman unwittingly married her father

It's a question that Spruill said she has been grappling with since she first learned the truth in 2004, six years after her husband Percy Spruill died.

"I don't know if he ever knew or not. That conversation didn't come up," she said. "I think if he did know, there is no way he could have told me."

She confirmed that her husband was indeed her father through a DNA test, hair taken from one of his brushes.

The aftermath of the secret was devastating emotionally -- and physically, Spruill suffered two strokes and was diagnosed with diabetes.

All of it, she believes was brought on by learning the family secret.

"Pain and stress will kill, and I had to release my stress," Spruill said. "I'm just telling the story to release my pain."

Stress may harm brain - but it recovers

She has a deep, abiding faith in God, who she believes has guided her through the experience -- and others that have shaped her life.

"You have to have faith," she said. "If God brought me this far, he's not going to leave me now."

Spruill met and married her husband-father in Akron and settled in Doylestown, a working class suburb of about 2,300.

It was her second marriage. Spruill was a nice man, a good provider. He was kind to her three children from her previous marriage.

"We had a good life," she said.

She initially struggled with anger, with hating Spruill for what happened.

But therapy taught her what happened wasn't her fault. Her faith taught her to forgive.

Initial response to her story has been mixed: "More positive than negative," she says.

In recent days, she has been in contact with a couple who found out after they were married that they were brother and sister.

They told her, she said, that her story is helping them deal with their own experience.

"They are trying to be friends now," Spruill said.

Others, though, have been less kind.

"They've said things like 'Some secrets should stay secrets,'" she said. "I can't do anything about what they think. I just know what I think. God is always mighty, and he teaches you to tell the truth no matter what."

My Faith: Suffering my way to a new tomorrow

Spruill knows not everybody tells the truth. It's a lesson she learned as a child the hard way.

By all accounts, Spruill's mother got pregnant as a teenager while dating her then 15-year-old father.

She was 3-months-old when she was sent to live with her grandmother and grandfather, who she initially believed as she grew up was her father.

Spruill said at about age 8 or 9, she discovered that the woman who often visited the house was not a family friend but her mother.

But nobody, she said, talked about her father.

There's nobody left to give her the answers about her husband-father. Her mother, Christine, died in 1984. Her grandparents have long since passed. So, too, have a number of Percy Spruill's relatives.

Spruill knows her mother worked as a prostitute and even got caught up in the 1980 high-profile corruption scandal surrounding James Barbuto, a probate judge who was convicted of intimidating investigators and gross sexual imposition for attacking a courthouse clerk in his chambers.

"My mother showed me lots of love. All said and done, I have no regrets in my life at all," she said.

She believes she has siblings or half-siblings from Spruill's previous relationships, including the one with her mother.

She said she wants to find them and let them know they are not alone.

Siblings heal family rifts through therapy

Spruill, herself, has three children and eight grandchildren. She struggled with telling her children that the man they believed was their step-father was their grandfather.

A therapist "advised me to tell my kids," she said. "I told them about two years ago. They are remarkable. They are handling it better than I am."

In recent days, shortly before the news broke, she also told her grandchildren.

"They have been so supportive. They are telling me they love me, telling me they will do whatever I need," she said.

In her spare time, since retiring from the accounting department where she worked for 34 years at Goodyear, she has been writing down her story with the hopes of publishing it.

"I thank God that he gave me a chance to live through all of this," she said. "It is nothing short of a miracle that I'm still here. I want people to know that they can survive something like this."


Jodi - posted on 09/26/2012




This is a really good argument for why you should be truthful about your child's biological parents. Just putting that out there for all the mothers who decide to pretend the stepfather is the father and keep the truth from their kids. Shitloads of women do that to their children.

Sherri - posted on 09/25/2012




Eh I don't find 15yrs to be that big of an age difference. That is pretty irrelevant imo anyways. The fact of the matter is her own family knew and allowed to her to marry him, knowing it was her father.


View replies by

Becky - posted on 10/09/2012




Ick, what a thing to find out! What I want to know is, did HE know he was her father??? That is truly a horrible thing for her family to hide from her!

Corinne - posted on 09/26/2012




I hate family secrets, there's just no need. My hubby was told about a half sibling he never knew about in the middle of a family feud. What makes it worse is his mother had already told me about this half brother (they share a father) and 'wondered' if there were any others out there. As my hubby never spoke of his dad or that side of his family, I never brought it up, I didn't ever think he didn't know. Now we're estranged from his mother and most of her side of the family so we won't be able to plug them for info. Just a good job I know who my dad is!

[deleted account]

I don't think a 15 year old age difference is the issue here at all, and IMO, depending on the maturity levels, I don't think 15 years is all that bad. Just dependent upon the maturity of the youngest person in the couple.

The sick and twisted part of the story was the family SECRET. THAT is the really sick and vile part. Family members knowingly sit back and relax while father/daughter marry, and assumingly consumate their marriage, possibly reproduce? GROSS!

Lady Heather - posted on 09/25/2012




Yeah, stick to your own age! The worst that can happen is you marry your brother. BARF.

Momma - posted on 09/25/2012




Actually, 15 years is not that big of an age difference. It isn't about age, it is about maturity. My mother is 54 and her husband is 43 - there are 11 years between them. There are only 7 years between her husband and me. However, he "acts" like he is 60, so it works perfect for them.

They met 23 years ago or so... So, she was 30 and he was 19. Yep, they have been together 23 years, there must be something that makes them click and it isn't age.... ;)

I also agree with Sherri - what is terrible here, is the fact that family members knew and didn't let them know!!

Sherri - posted on 09/25/2012




No Jaime he had her when he was 15.

"By all accounts, Spruill's mother got pregnant as a teenager while dating her then 15-year-old father."

Imo 15yrs isn't that horrible of an age difference. My friends are 10 yrs apart and you would never know it.

[deleted account]

THIS is why you don't marry a guy old enough to be your dad.

if i calculated correctly, she was 38 when he died at 60, which would make him 22 years older than her.

that's how old i am now. that's like me disappearing and coming back in twenty years and marrying my son. i love him and all but nooooooooooo...

EDIT: well, according to my calculations based on the info given at the very top of the article. but it still stands, this is why, ESPECIALLY if you didn't know your dad, you shouldn't marry someone so much older than you, and always always ALWAYS dig through their background!

so glad my hubby's only two years older than me and my mother hates him xD

Momma - posted on 09/25/2012




I agree with Krista. I mean, the Uncle knew, so how could no one else have known? They did/do call it a "Family Secret". I dunno but that really bites....


Krista - posted on 09/24/2012




Yikes! What the hell is wrong with her family members that nobody TOLD her about this before she married the guy? Surely someone would have known...

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