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Cheryl discovers family secrets on Who Do You Think You Are

Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
December 2, 2016
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Cheryl discovered some shocking secrets about her heritage during an episode of Who Do You Think You Are?

The former Girls Aloud band member was surprised to discover that her great-grandfather Joseph Wilson Ridley had actually fathered illegitimate twins with his housekeeper Edith Annie Burton who gave birth to twins, one of whom was the star's grandmother, Olga. According to Cheryl, her grandma Olga had kept the circumstances of her birth a secret from her daughter, Cheryl's mother, Joan, and the former X Factor judge revealed she was particularly interested in her mother's family as she knew very little about her relatives on that side.

cheryl 2© Photo: BBC

Cheryl as a baby with her mum, Joan

"My mother is very much a friend," she said. "I can confide in her about anything. But it just feels a bit more mysterious on her side of the family. I never heard stories, I never heard tales. I find it like pretty amazing that my Mam's grandfather has been completely forgotten, considering he fought in the First World War. You would think there would be tales and stuff like that passed down but nobody seems to know anything."

cheryl 3© Photo: BBC

Cheryl in 1990

Cheryl, who recently revealed her baby bump during a visit to the Fayre of St James Christmas Carol Concert in London with her boyfriend Liam Payne, seemed particularly fascinated in her great-grandfather's time in the war, particularly after learning that although he was a decorated war hero, but was also known for being difficult. She said: "I'm sure that you would become quite an angry person after you’d experienced some of the horrific things they did here."

The heritage show has been packed with surprises this series, and Danny Dyer recently discovered that he was the direct descendant of two Kings of England – William the Conqueror and Edward III. He told Radio Times: "It's crazy, but the fact of the matter is that I am a direct descendant of royalty." 

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