Family Secrets

Family Secrets

Family Secrets. We all have them. And while the discovery of family secrets can initially be terrifying or traumatic, often these discoveries have the power to liberate, heal, and even uplift us. Join Dani Shapiro, bestselling author of the memoir Inheritance, and her guests as they explore astonishing family secrets and uncover the extraordinary lessons the truth can teach us.

Episodes

October 3, 2022 9 min

The opening chapter of SIGNAL FIRES is shared here, in Dani's voice, for the very first time. 

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Ashley’s father is imprisoned when she’s eight months old. She has no real context for him until she visits him for the first time, when she’s seven. They forge as best a relationship they can, writing letters, and talking on the phone. It’s not until she’s fourteen when she discovers why he’s in jail. What she learns is shattering and confirms to her that the world is not always a safe place.

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September 22, 2022 49 min

From a harrowing, unstable childhood, Venus perseveres and creates an ideal life for herself—with an exuberant husband and a gaggle of amazing kids. But harrowing returns for her when she learns the dark truths—and lies—about her husband.

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September 15, 2022 43 min

Growing up, Rich doesn’t know much about his family, save for the singular fact that his mother came to the US from Haiti when she was thirteen. But in 2010, when the worst recorded earthquake in the Western hemisphere’s history hits Haiti, Rich is met with a series of life-altering discoveries about his family’s past.

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September 8, 2022 40 min

Chloe is an only child, but she’s not entirely alone. She has dogs. Meaningful, magical, ever-supportive dogs. With reserved parents and a habit of hiding her feelings, Chloe retreats deeply into her canine world, and the search to find herself, and free herself, takes years.

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September 1, 2022 54 min

Putsata was an infant when she and her family fled from war-torn Cambodia on an escape boat. When the captain saw that baby Putsata was ill, he suggested that her mother—Ma—throw her overboard. Ma couldn’t do this; she believed her baby would get better, and sure enough she did. Putsata grows up feeling indebted to Ma for saving her life. The weight of this debt gets heavier and heavier over time, causing Put to bury large and impo...

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August 25, 2022 2 min

Welcome to the new season of Family Secrets, premiering September 1st.

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In this bonus episode, Dani speaks with professor and author Michael Slepian about the psychology of secret keeping and his new book The Secret Life of Secrets: How Our Inner Worlds Shape Well-Being, Relationships, and Who We Are.

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In this bonus episode, Dani speaks with psychoanalyst and author Dr. Galit Atlas about her new book Emotional Inheritance and the role of secrecy in families—all families.

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In this replay bonus episode, Dani speaks with writer Jennifer Senior about her cover story ‘What Bobby McIlvaine Left Behind’ for the September 2021 issue of The Atlantic.

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April 28, 2022 1 min

Tell us what stories you'd like to hear at 1-888-SECRET-0.

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March 17, 2022 61 min

Dani sits down with her friend and fellow podcaster Nora McInerney for a deep dive into her own family secrets.

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Dani recalls some of her favorite Family Secrets moments in this special bonus episode put together by Hark. Watch for more bonus content as we continue work on the next season.

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February 10, 2022 58 min

When Zoe Shaw becomes pregnant at fifteen years old, her life is thrown into orbit. Not only must she conceal her pregnancy from her family and community, but too, her future will be forever informed by the secret at the core of her adolescence.

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February 3, 2022 56 min

Liz Scheier’s mother is eccentric at best, and violent at worst. In the grips of mental illness, she keeps secrets and tells lies. It isn’t until Liz turns eighteen, when her mother finally divulges hidden truths about her past. Decades later, Liz is still trying to piece together the myriad levels of deception.

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January 27, 2022 41 min

In 1988, Margaret Kimball is four years old and her mother attempts suicide; this is just one of several family secrets. As Margaret searches for answers nearly thirty years later, she mines through old diary entries, hospital records, home videos, and other archives to piece together a narrative map of her childhood in an attempt to understand the unspoken familial fractures.

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January 20, 2022 40 min

Beneath Justine’s mother’s polished façade lay a fearsome rage that drives Justine to flee from home. After her mother dies, Justine uncovers an envelope revealing the mystery of her mother’s character, and a telling history that stretches back to the early years of World War II and beyond.

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January 13, 2022 58 min

Just as Adam approaches an exciting apex in his career, he receives life-shattering news which stems from a deep and painful family secret.

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January 6, 2022 42 min

Michelle grapples with the memory of her sexual assault and home invasion that occurred during her college years. Twenty years later, after a career of working with victims like herself, Michelle endeavors to find out what happened to her case and why she never heard from the police again.


Warning: this episode contains discussion of sexual assault. Listener discretion is advised.

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December 30, 2021 46 min

Actress Maddie Corman is driving at 5:00 am to a TV soundstage to film a television show when she gets a panicked call from her children; police are at their home, seizing their father’s computer. Maddie’s husband Jace Alexander has a dark secret, now coming to light. 


Warning: this episode contains discussion of child sexual abuse. Listener discretion is advised.

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