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Oddities

Family Secret: Woman Discovers She Married Her Father

It’s not unusual for someone to find out some family secret later in life. But when the secret involves both your father and your husband, things get a little complicated.

Mrs. Valerie Spruill had heard all the rumors of her husband (the deceased Percy Sprill). They mirrored stories and rumors about her father. Nobody shared with her the whole truth while he was alive. The bits she heard didn’t connect and didn’t make sense until her uncle told her the truth. “It is devastating. It can destroy you, and it almost did,” Mrs. Spruill said.

At three months old, Mrs. Spruill was sent to her grandparents, who she was told were her parents. When her mom would visit they told Mrs. Spruill that she was a family friend. She was told when she was about 8-or-9 about her mother, and she learned that her mother was a “night lady,” as she called her. Her dad and mom met when her dad was only 15. Her mom told Mrs. Spruill that she wasn’t around because it would have exposed the young Mrs. Spruill to the “unsavory things” that she worked with.

The question that Mrs. Spruill said that she had been grappling with was: how? She first found out six years after her husband’s death. “I don’t know if he ever knew or not. That conversation didn’t come up. I think if he did know, there was no way he could have told me,” Mrs. Spruill said. She confirmed that he was her father with a DNA test, using hair from one of his hairbrushes.

It hit her hard, emotionally and physically. Mrs. Spruill suffered two heart attacks, which kept her in the hospital for almost two weeks and was diagnosed with diabetes. She believes that it was all brought by the reveal of the family secret. “Pain and stress will kill. I had to release my stress. I’m just telling the story to release my pain.” She is very religious and believes that God was the only thing that kept her alive in the hospital and that telling this story is why she’s still alive.

Her therapist advised her to tell her children. She has two children and eight grandchildren. “They are remarkable. They are handling it better than I am,” Mrs. Spruill said.

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