DNA testing has helped many people learn more about their heritage and that their extended families are much larger than they previously thought. While it is certainly exciting to uncover the minutiae of your ethnic background and to discover new living relatives, it can be all the more thrilling to learn that you're connected to someone you currently admire. This is exactly what happened to actor Billy Crudup, who it turns out is distant cousins with Terry Crews.
The discovery was made by the team at the PBS show Finding Your Roots. Crews had previously appeared on the eighth season of the show. There, he learned more about his father's complicated upbringing, which later shaped his own childhood. Much to his surprise, it was also revealed that 15% of his ancestors from the past five centuries were from Scotland, Ireland, and England, where Crudup's family is from.
Some time later, it was Crudup's time to learn about his family's history. The Almost Famous star was excited to discover that he descends from Nathan Boddie, who participated in a key moment towards independence for the 13 Colonies by voting for the Halifax Resolves. But learning he had a very much alive distant celebrity relative in Crews took him by surprise. “Get out of here! Are you kidding me?” Crudup said when the show's host, Henry Louis Gates Jr., revealed the connection.
The 54-year-old actor then shared that his son is a huge fan of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, where Crews portrays Sargent-turned-Lieutenant Terry Jeffords.”He was on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and when (my son) hears this, this will be by far the most exciting portion of this,” Crudup jokingly admitted.
Gates explained that Crews and Crudup share an identical stretch of DNA on their 16th chromosomes, meaning that sometime in the last 500 years, the two stars had a common ancestor. Gates explained, “The evidence is inscribed on your 16th chromosome and as the brothers say on the street, ‘DNA don’t lie.'” Crudup then added, “That’s incredible and the fact that the first (part) of his name is Crew, we've now got the Cru crew.” In yet another curious coincidence, both actors were both born in 1968 (only 22 days apart).
“He’s one of the best actors that I’ve ever seen in my entire life, and to know that I’m related,” Crews said about Crudup. “This is the man from Almost Famous, from Watchmen and, oh, so many brilliant The Morning Show… his talent is incredible.”
Following the astonishing reveal, the two celebrities finally met up in New York City over Memorial Day weekend. The Everybody Hates Chris star later talked to Today about the experience, which he described as a satisfying and wonderful afternoon. “The fact that we are blood relatives, to me, is a statement about what America is. It’s also a statement about humanity,” Crews said. “Because we all think, you know, he’s white, I’m Black. But the reality is we are true blood relatives.”
For the America's Got Talent host, this finding is bigger than both of them. “The whole color difference is a myth. It’s all a myth, because you’d be shocked if you found out who you were really related to, who is really your cousin down the line,” Crews continued. “I think we are a true example of the misconception and breaking those misconceptions about true family and what family means. It was a miracle. I’m not gonna lie. It’s a true miracle.”