People keep secrets for all kinds of reasons, and if binging every true crime documentary out there has taught me anything, it’s that you never truly know anyone.

Which is exactly the lesson these 14 people learned when their parents revealed that they had been keeping pretty significant secrets their entire lives.

14. Not just the once.

My Dad left when I was 10 (but took the kids on weekends, etc) and very soon afterwards was dating a woman seriously. By my teen years I had kinda-sorta worked out that he had probably been seeing her before he left, meaning he cheated on my Mom. But I rationalized it that the marriage failed and hey, he actually was in a relationship with that woman for years afterward so it wasn’t a cheap fling.

Then in my late teens Mom told a story about the summer when they were still married when Dad was sent on a 6 week training seminar in another city. She paused, uncertain if she should add this tidbit, then mentioned she had been told by one of his co-workers that he dated a woman there for that whole 6 weeks.

TL;DR: Found out Dad had a pattern of cheating on my Mom, not just the once.

13. Why tell him now though?

Yes. I heard my mum and dad arguing outside. When they came back in , I asked them what they were arguing about.

She said that she finally told my dad that she cheated on him twice in the past with a family friend.

12. I would have been traumatized for life.

When I was 8, I got a cat named Toes. Big fluffy gray long haired kitty with white feet. Sweet kitty. I went away to visit my grandparents for the weekend and when I came home, my mom broke the news to me Toes had been hit by a car and killed. I was terribly upset but mom took me to a shelter and we adopted a new kitty almost right away.

Years later, when I was probably 21, my mother called me and sounded very upset. She said she had something to tell me. Turns out Toes had not been hit by a car that weekend. He had instead climbed into the warm clothes dryer to sleep and mom didn’t see him and loaded the dryer with a blanket she had washed… and then found Toes when she opened the dryer an hour later.

11. Some things don’t need to be said

Several years ago my dad dropped the truth bomb that he didn’t think I was his kid when I was born. My mum had an affair and he thought I was an illicit lovechild.

As soon as I started growing, he could see a lot of himself in my features so eventually brushed it off. But like… gee thanks dad. Not sure I needed to know that.

10. Questions for sure.

My mom has a secret that I feel like I should’ve been told about when I became an adult, but that conversation hasn’t happened yet. A long time ago, I learned that she had a family that she up and left. No warning given to them from my understanding.

Some point thereafter, she met my dad and started a family again. I figure she had to have been divorced to marry my dad, based on state laws, but I don’t know. I have questions for sure, but because she has never mentioned it, I haven’t either.

Since we’re really close, I’m hoping one day she’ll share that story with me. But for now, I know what I know.

9. What is wrong with people?

My mom recently revealed to me that our cat who died under mysterious circumstances was actually hit with a brick and killed by our neighbor.

Could’ve went my whole life without knowing that one:)

8. He sounds like a real winner.

Backstory: My Mom and Dad were in high school when they had me. They were broken up and on bad terms before I was even born. Dad moved to California for the Marines and school. I stayed in the South with my mom, but my grandmother (dad’s mom) stepped into the void my dad left and helped my mom raise me.

Classic estranged father. I’d maybe see him for a few days every year or two, but by the time I was close to becoming a teenager there’d be years between visits. When I was younger, I always had him on a pedestal even though I hardly ever saw him or spoke to him. BUT I could always count on hearing from him when a new console came out. I’ve been a huge gamer my entire life, so my dad would ALWAYS buy and send whatever the newest console/gaming innovation was at the time. It’s always been our thing, starting with a Gameboy Color and Pokemon Gold all the way to the PS4 Pro. Even over the last few months he had been talking about getting me the new Xbox whatever it is.

My grandmother passed away last month, so I’ve had to see and speak with him a lot more than usual. He told me he had been having trouble finding an Xbox but assuring me that it would happen once everything settled down. I was talking with my Mom afterwards and mentioned the conversation in passing. Found out that my grandmother was buying everything for me and my dad was just taking the credit.

7. Who knew? *sarcasm*

My mom was super anti-abortion her whole life, we figured it was just religion. Turns out her mom (my grandma) got put in jail for helping women do illegal abortions in Illinois before Roe vs Wade.

Everyone found out because women kept turning up almost bleeding to death. Turns out back alley abortions are super dangerous.

6. What a guy.

Not me but my Grandpa. During the Vietnam war, my Grandma had a baby with an American Soldier when she was sixteen. Not knowing this, my Grandpa still raised my half aunt. My Grandpa fought as well. He battled alcoholism, PTSD, The Viet Cong, and fled a country he swore to protect.

After my family moved to Iowa, my Grandma finally told the truth about my half aunt. My Grandpa just stood up, went to the fridge for a beer, and told my Grandma “I still raised her”. I never doubted my Grandpa’s love for his family after my other aunt told me this.

5. Definitely a story in there.

OO I FINALLY GOT ONE!! My aunty casually brought up one Christmas after my dad had died that he went missing for TWO YEARS when he was twenty and nobody ever knew where he went!

He just reappeared one day “looking like jesus” and never explained where he went or what happened and then continued on living his life and literally no-one ever mentioned it again so I never got to ask him about it. So wild.

4. Why even pretend?

My dad used to take all of my christmas and birthday money—my brother’s too—for our ‘college fund.’

We didn’t have access to the account till we turned 18. Day before my older brother’s birthday, old man drains the account and buys a new car… for himself. Told us that was always the plan and that if we wanted to go pay for school we’d better go get jobs.

Please never do this to your kids. It will probably contribute to trust issues, esp financially. But I wouldn’t know.

I cant afford therapy lol

3. A scandal for sure.

The reason my parents finally divorced after years of dads infidelity was that he got my sister’s teacher pregnant around the time I was born.

2. Quite a secret.

It was less “at adulthood” and more “my grandpa died and we just found out his brothers secret.”

I asked my parents if we should tell my grandpas brothers that he was dying and they got kind of awkward. I wasn’t sure why, considering this great uncle was in my life a good bit and was always nice and kind. It turns out, his oldest daughter, who had died a few months prior, had children fathered by my uncle. He had been molesting her the entire time she was a teenager. I’m unsure how she died, but as far as I know, she took that secret to her grave.

I’m glad my grandparents are both deceased and never have to find out about that. We did not tell him my grandpa was passing, nor did we invite him to the funeral.

1. It makes sense for sure.

My adopted brother was actually my cousin. We knew my aunt died in a car crash, but they left out that my uncle was shot/murdered with his son in the room. He was 3 years old at the time, and alone with the body until the next morning.

My brother was a pretty troubled kid, and it made a lot of sense when we found out what he had gone through and how he had received basically zero counseling after.

Did your parents keep a doozy of a secret from you growing up?

Tell us what it was down in the comments!