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Ciara learns she's related to Derek Jeter after surprising DNA test

Ciara appeared on PBS' "Finding Your Roots" and discovered some of her DNA matches that of MLB star Derek Jeter.
Ciara learns she's related to Derek Jeter after surprising DNA test
Posted at 7:39 PM, Jan 03, 2024

It turns out Ciara has another sports star in her family tree.

The singer was reviewing her ancestry on the PBS series "Finding Your Roots" when its host, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., highlighted a shocking connection: She's related to former New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter.

"What the world!" Ciara exclaimed in a clip from the Jan. 2 episode. "You are kidding me. Derek Jeter — that's crazy."

Gates explains Ciara and Jeter are "DNA cousins" who share a "long, identical stretch of DNA on their 14th chromosome," and because Jeter previously appeared on the show's second season, genealogists knew this DNA was inherited from the baseball player's mother.

"The moment I learned @DerekJeter was my cousin! Crazy!" Ciara said on her Instagram page along with the clip. "Thank you @drhenrylouisgates for such an incredible experience! This was a dream come true to learn about my family genealogy!"

Ciara's husband, NFL quarterback Russell Wilson, had a different reaction to the news, sharing on X that he "Always knew it!" with a laughing emoji. 

This new addition to both Ciara and Jeter's families comes as each has also recently welcomed their fourth baby to the world: Jeter and his wife Hannah had their first son of four kids in May, and Ciara welcomed her third daughter with Wilson in December. She also shares a 9-year-old son with rapper Future.

But this isn't the only time "Finding Your Roots" has tied two celebrities together through DNA, and it likely won't be the last.

With each new celebrity on the show, Gates says he's able to make more connections to past guests, like Whoopi Goldberg. The actress and host appeared in Gates' first genealogical research series, "African American Lives," in 2006 alongside eight other African American guests, which included Quincy Jones, Oprah Winfrey and Chris Tucker.

Only recently, however, was Gates able to tell Goldberg she had an unknown celebrity DNA cousin: former NFL player Tony Gonzalez, regarded as one of the greatest tight ends of all time. Gonzalez appeared on Season Nine of "Finding Your Roots," 17 years after Goldberg's lineage was analyzed.

"In the first series I did … we didn't have the sophisticated tests that we now use for DNA at that time," Gates said to Goldberg on "The View." "You all know about DNA cousins? You have a DNA cousin, dear … Tony Gonzales is your DNA cousin."

Another link out of Season Nine connected two A-list actors: DNA cousins Julia Roberts and Edward Norton.

Though the two have never worked together, they both appeared in the same "Finding Your Roots" episode last year, and after Gates shared their individual family trees with them, he dropped their wild connection.

"You and Ed share a long, identical stretch of DNA on your ninth chromosomes," Gates told Roberts. "This means that you inherited this shared DNA from a distant ancestor, somewhere in the thick of this family tree."

Ciara's episode of "Finding Your Roots" was the PBS show's tenth season premiere and also featured Alanis Morissette, who Entertainment Weekly reported found out she was distant cousins with actress Claire Danes. Other celebrity guests this season include Brendan Fraser, Jesse Williams, Lena Dunham, Dionne Warwick, Tracy Morgan and more.

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