An Ohio woman is finally speaking out about the pain she suffered after discovering that the man she married also fathered her.
Valerie Spruill of Doylestown learned of her husband's identity six years after he passed away in 1998 thanks to an uncle who eventually came forward with the truth, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
She says she is now going public with her past in the hopes that it will inspire those going through a rough time.
"I want this to be more of an inspirational story," the 60-year-old told the newspaper. "If I've come through this, anyone can come through anything through the help of the Lord."
Valerie's mother and father, Percy Spruill, first started seeing each other when he was 15. It remains unclear how many children they had together, though Valerie says she is aware of six brothers.
Valerie's grandmother began taking care of her when she was 3-months-old, but it wasn't until age 9 that Valerie discovered the first of many secrets her family had kept from her.
She learned that the man she believed was her father was actually her grandfather. She also realized that a woman who said she was a family friend actually was her mother.
The story "needs to be told, because children need to know where they come from," she said. "And I know it hurts, because I have been devastated by this."
Her mother, Christine, was a "night lady" before she died in 1984, Valerie said.
Christine testified in the infamous 1980s corruption trial of Summit County Probate Judge James Barbuto, who was later convicted of sex charges.
In 2004, Valerie confirmed that her late husband was her father with the help of a DNA test.
Valerie said she can't say for certain whether Percy was aware of the extent of their relationship, though she believes he did know and was simply too afraid to tell her.
She is still seeing a therapist to come to terms with the difficult revelation.
She has also sought medical treatment for a series of serious medical problems that she believes stem from the stress she endured in the years after the discovery.
Valerie says she hopes her decision to go public will help her find more siblings.
"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.'"
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