“Family secrets. It turns out that just about everyone has them, which accounts for the incredible outpouring of community and sharing of these stories that’s happening as a result of my podcast,” said Dani Shapiro, author and host of the iHeartPodcast Network show Family Secrets. That deep well is providing her with a new roster of stories as the podcast launches its third season. “In each episode I sit down with an amazing guest and we delve into stories that cover all sorts of things – identity, addiction, loss, legacy and always, the secret shame that runs beneath so much that is hidden,” said Shapiro in a series preview. She credits the popularity of DNA testing, social media, and the #MeToo movement for chipping away at many long-held secrets. “I truly believe we’re living in the era of the end of the secret,” she said.
In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which author Shapiro had submitted her DNA for analysis, she received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. The resulting book “Inheritance” became a Times bestseller, and last February she became a podcaster with the release of the Family Secrets podcast. It became a hit for iHeart thanks in part to the attention the podcast received, including an appearance on NBC-TV’s “Today” show in August.
After two seasons of the show, Shapiro said she has come to understand that sometimes families keep secrets “in the name of love” as she puts it. “We mean well, we really do, but those secrets leave a trail of confusion in their wake,” said Shapiro. “When a secret is kept from us, we often feel haunted, like there’s something we don’t know, something we can’t put our finger on, and this can make us feel – especially as children – that there’s something wrong with us.”
In the latest season she will sit down with a journalist who learns a secret on his father’s death bed, has a conversation with Lisa Jobs, the secret child of Apple founder Steve Jobs, and the brother of “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, among others.
Shaprio last month leveraged her podcast into a series of live events which continue next week in Connecticut. She’s also set up a hotline for listeners of the podcast to record their own family secrets.
New episodes of Family Secrets will be published each Thursday.