Valerie Spruill, 60, from Doylestown, Ohio, found out through a DNA test
- The confusion began as she was looked after by her grandparents from three-months-old
- Believes her husband could have known the truth but feared telling her
- Said husband was good provider and caring toward her three children from a previous marriage
Valerie Spruill, who lives in Doylestown, Ohio, first told her story earlier this month to the Akron Beacon Journal, and today spoke with CNN about her story.
She said that she wasn’t sure if her late husband Percy Spruill even knew he was her father, saying: ‘That conversation didn’t come up.’
Secret: Valerie Spruill, 60, from Ohio, discovered her husband was in fact her father after he died
In her interview with CNN, Mrs Spruill said that the only way to heal from the shocking news was to speak about her pain. ‘Pain and stress will kill,’ she said, ‘and I had to release my stress.’
After she and Mr Spruill met in Akron and moved to the nearby working-class town of Doylestown, she said she was happy. ‘He was a good provider,’ she said, and was accepting to her three children from her first marriage.
She worked at the Goodyear plant in the accounting department for 34 years.
However, after the truth came out following Mr Spruill’s death, the mother and grandmother said she had a crisis of faith. ‘It’s devastating. It can destroy you,’ she told CNN.
At age 60, Mrs Spruill’s grandparents are long dead, as are many of her husband’s relatives that could have provided valuable information to her.
Despite all of the hardship, Mrs Spruill has kept a remarkably strong spirit, something she credits to her faith in God. ‘I have no regrets in my life at all,’ she said.
Spruill, who has three children and eight grandchildren, is now telling her story in an attempt to find her other siblings from her father.
'It needs to be told, because children need to know where they come from,' she told the Akron Beacon Journal earlier this month. 'And I know it hurts, because I have been devastated by this.'
Better times: She said that her husband, who worked as a truck driver, provided she and her children from a previous marriage with a good life
Her mother Christine was one the 'night ladies' - as she called them - who testified in the 1980 trial of Summit County Probate Judge James Barbuto, who was eventually convicted of sex charges.
Valerie's mother and father got together when he was just 15 and the number of children they had is unclear, but she is aware of six brothers.
She was cared for by her grandparents and her mother visited, although Valerie thought she was a family friend.
Aged nine, she was devastated when she found out that Christine - who died in 1984 - had been her mother. It also meant the man she thought was her father was in fact her grandfather.
'This story needs to be told because children need to know where they come from. And I know it hurts, because I have been devastated by this.'
Percy, who was born in Mississippi, worked in Akron as a truck driver and a parking-lot attendant.
He died in 1998 after a brief illness at the age of 60, but for years, she had heard bizarre rumours about their relationship.
She finally learned the truth about her marriage from an uncle after Percy died, and confirmed the relationship with a DNA test after finding his hairs on a brush in their room.
She does not know for certain that he was aware he had married his daughter, but she said she strongly believes he did know but was simply afraid to tell her.
Since his death, Valerie, who is retired, has been seeing a therapist to help her deal with the horrifying revelation.
Valerie has fought through serious health problems, including a lengthy hospital stay, which she believes were only brought on by the stress of discovering the traumatic family secret
She is hoping her story may help her reach additional siblings she didn’t know existed.
'My biggest goal is to find them and let ’em know that [their mother] loved them, no matter what,' she said. 'And [to say], 'Thank God she gave you away like she did me, so you could have a beautiful life.'