At Home DNA Testing Uncovered This TV Star’s Secret Affair and Led to the Discovery of His Adult Daughter

By: Riley Brown | Published: Nov 02, 2023

Have you ever wondered about your family history? Imagine the shock of discovering that you are related to someone famous—a celebrity, perhaps—after taking a simple DNA test. That’s what happened to Phyllis, a 47-year-old mother whose life was completely shaken up after she discovered the true identity of her long-lost father.

But who was this mysterious figure from the past? Follow Phyllis’ story to find out for yourself.

Making It All Possible

While it was once a lengthy, expensive procedure, DNA testing has become incredibly quick and easy. Kits arrive by mail, the instructions are easy to follow, and all it takes is a swab of saliva and a postage stamp to begin the process. The results are delivered directly to your front door through the mail.


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The results can shed light on a fascinating array of data, including the predisposition of certain personality types and a person’s ancestral background. It’s no wonder these tests have become more popular over the years.

An Innocent Curiosity

Phyllis herself had never thought to take a DNA test—her son pulled the first thread. The young man had recently become engaged, and his fiancée convinced him to take the test to learn more about his family tree.


Source: Phyllis Harvey-Thomas/Facebook

DNA test results can be helpful as well as insightful. Phyllis’ daughter-in-law probably wanted to know about any possible genetic quirks or predispositions to illness for their own future family. Amused, Phyllis’ son humored his soon-to-be wife and took the test.

Not What They Had Expected

There had never been any mystery in the Thompson family. Phyllis’ son had expected a few surprises after going back a couple of generations, but nothing major. So when the results came back, he and his fiancée were quite shocked.


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What should have been a fun couple of hours looking over the test results became an afternoon of confusion. They weren’t sure what to make of them—partly because they seemed incomplete—had something gone wrong with the procedure? It was the only logical explanation. He picked up the phone and called his mom before calling the lab, just to be sure.

A Missing Ethnicity

Phyllis’ son knew that the results should have been off because he had heard from his relatives that his family line included certain ethnicities. These ethnicities were absent from his DNA, according to the results. His mom had been one of the people to tell him these stories.


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Had there been a mistake? Had he misheard, or had one of his ancestors lied about their lineage? He knew his mom would clear it all up and laughed about how clumsy those lab technicians must have been.

But Phyllis had no idea.

A Mix-Up On Her Father’s Side

Everything she knew about her maternal side was accurately depicted on the little pie chart, but there was a big question mark over her father’s side. And, as Phyllis’ daughter-in-law pointed out, the lab couldn’t have gotten exactly half of everything wrong.

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Surely Phyllis’ father hadn’t been lying about his background. Why would he do such a thing? She decided to call her brother and get him on board. Perhaps he could shed some light on the problem.


A Way Forward

Everything Phyllis knew had been put into question—everything except her relationship with her mother. So who was her father? And what about her siblings? Her brother could offer no more answers than she could—but he did convince her to get their sister on the line.

Source: Phyllis Harvey-Thomas/Facebook

Once their sister got onboard, the mystery became unstuck. They would need a DNA lab and another swab stick—this time for Phyllis’ brother or sister. Soon, the whole family caught wind of their search for answers.


Giving It Another Swab

What should have been a fun little test result turned into a full-scale ancestral investigation with Phyllis and her siblings at the center. They ordered another DNA test kit, but Phyllis’ sister would do the swabbing this time. At least that way, they would know about their relationship.

Source: Phyllis/Facebook

Phyllis had a gut feeling that she was the outlier in all this. As the family waited in anticipation for the results of the second test, Phyllis did some soul-searching and strained her memory for clues about her father.


Just To Be Sure

Nothing that could come with the next results would stop Phyllis from loving her brother and sister. They were her family, and she loved them no matter what. All the same, she wanted answers to these bewildering questions about her lineage.

Source: Tony Thomas/Facebook

While her sister awaited her test results, curiosity got the better of her. Phyllis decided to order a kit, too. It couldn’t hurt to give her DNA a thorough examination—especially with them being so affordable, painless, and convenient.


Phyllis And Her Siblings

Phyllis and her sister got their results at around the same time. They were conclusive. Phyllis remarked in an interview, “[my sister] did a DNA test, and I finally did one. It came back that [my brother and sister] were half-siblings.”

Source: Phyllis Harvey-Thomas/Facebook

It seemed that Phyllis had a different father from her sister and brother. In forty years, nobody had ever revealed this truth to her. It didn’t matter all that much to the trio—they loved each other, and that was that.


The Mystery Man

But now, another question hung in the air. Who was her real dad? Since she had never been given more than a hint when she was much younger—and even then, she couldn’t be sure if they were memories or dreams—she had no leads from her family to follow.

Source: Phyllis Harvey-Thomas/Facebook

Was this a dead end in the chase? Not quite. Thanks to her DNA results, Phyllis had one hope of finding the identity of her biological father. But it would take a little digging.


On The DNA Trail

It turns out that DNA testing is more sophisticated than ever. The lab doesn’t just break down your ethnicity and personality predispositions—they also allow users to track where their relatives are around the world. That goes for direct relatives, too.

Source: Phyllis Harvey-Thomas/Facebook

Phyllis put on her investigator’s hat and began searching for matches by geography, region, or country. This helpful feature would lead her all the way to finding her true father—and what a shock that would be! At this point, the whole family was watching.


A Familiar Name on the List

There was no way to find a direct link to a name, but Phyllis would have to whittle down a list of potential candidates. Phyllis had a mandate for her investigation—the results had dropped a big blank spot where her father was supposed to be.

Source: Tony Thomas/Facebook

The research was slow, but Phyllis didn’t let anything deter her from discovering the truth of her lineage. Through hard work and determination, they had compiled a sturdy list of candidates. One name, in particular, stood out from all the rest. It was the name of a well-known celebrity. But they didn’t jump to conclusions yet.


But The Name Stuck With Her

Tree-building had just about become a full-time job. But with each blank that Phyllis and her husband filled in, they were closer to revealing her biological father’s name. It came down to just a few blanks, and the familiar name was still on the candidate list.

Source: Tony Thomas/Facebook

Phyllis had another gut feeling—the same gut feeling she had all her life about not fitting in. It was telling her that this man was her biological father. But she wouldn’t have proof without first at least meeting him in person.


She Knew Him—From T.V.

She turned to her husband and said, “I think I know [him].” But she didn’t mean she had bumped into him on the street or at Walmart. She meant that she had seen his face on billboards, magazines, and television.

Source: Tony Thomas/Facebook

And she didn’t mean years ago, either. This man—her potential father—was currently a huge star. It was a crazy thought: the idea of being related to a famous person. She was onto something big, and this drove her onward in her investigation.


Who Else But The Duck Dynasty Star, Phil Robertson?

Phyllis’ investigation determined that her father could be non-other than Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson. She had seen his face many times on A&E—but how could Phyllis have ever guessed he was her biological dad without the help of the DNA test?

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Not only was their DNA a potential match, but their names matched, too. Phil and Phyllis. Could that have been a running family joke over the years? Either way, it wasn’t 100% certain. They would have to meet.


Reaching Out To Phil

Meeting your biological dad would be hard enough for anyone, but for Phyllis to have to confront such a celebrity? How stressful! The rest question was: would he even want to meet her? Well, she had come this far. She and her husband came up with a game plan.

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They decided the best course of action would be to write him a letter. It was a non-confrontational way to break the ice—the best way to avoid drama.


But What To Say?

According to Phyllis, this was probably the most challenging step in the whole process. She didn’t want to step on anyone’s shoes—Phil had a family of his own, after all. They prayed for answers and spoke to their close friends about what they should put down in the letter.

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Phyllis was worried about what Phil’s wife would think most of all. She knew the two had been together for as long as she was alive. It would be an uncomfortable part of the conversation.


She Wasn’t Just Going To Put It In The Mail

Phyllis and her husband thought a letter would be the best way to convey their thoughts to Phil, but she didn’t just want to put a stamp on an envelope and send it off. She would deliver it to him in person. She believed their mutual faith would at least be enough for him to take the letter out of her hands.

Source: Phyllis Harvey-Thomas/Facebook

Phyllis and her husband arranged to take a December trip out to Louisiana, and decided to put whatever would happen next in God’s hands.


He Was Scheduled To Preach At Church

It seemed that somebody had heard their prayers—they discovered that Phil was preaching one Sunday in December, and it perfectly lined up with their travel plans. The two arrived at the church and listened to Phil deliver his words.

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Given the time of year, Phil was performing during a Christmas reading. According to her husband, Phyllis was a bundle of nerves the whole way through. She sat watching the man, potentially her father, from the back pews.


Losing Hope

Unfortunately, simply walking up to Phil and speaking to him wasn’t so easy. When the two first came into the church, they watched him roll in with a team of bodyguards—or, as Phyllis described it, “an entourage.”

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All she wanted to do in the whole world was to get this man—potentially her father—the heartfelt letter she had written him. It seemed impossible. In fact, Phyllis knew it was impossible. The moment he exited the church, Phyllis broke down in tears in front of him.


Finding Another Way

Upon seeing Phyllis burst into tears, Phil got scared and made a getaway out of the church building. He assumed something weird was going on—and in a way, he wasn’t wrong. But had Phyllis missed her one chance to present the letter? Not yet.

Source: Chad Debie Merten Smith/Facebook

She didn’t give up. If she couldn’t get the letter into Phil’s hands, she would have to find someone to deliver it. It would need to be someone close to Phil, too. But who would do it?


A Message To His Son

While she was still in church after she pulled herself together, Phyllis noticed one of Phil’s sons, Jase, sitting on one of the pews. She recognized him from her research and realized he could be her half-brother. Without hesitation, she approached him and asked him to deliver a letter to his dad.

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Phyllis explained the situation in an interview later, saying, “I walked right up to Jase and gave him the letter. I told him it was important and asked him to give it to his dad.”


A Change Of Fortune

Jase was more than willing to help Phyllis. He greeted her warmly and promised to deliver the letter to his father. Phyllis didn’t expect much, as the Robertson family might have more important things to worry about than a random woman claiming to be Phil’s long-lost daughter.

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Days passed, and they received no word. Phyllis decided to send a letter to the Duck Dynasty HQ as a last resort. A week later, everything changed.


The Snail Mail Won Out

The snail mail letter reached the family, which got Phyllis’ plea the attention it deserved. It had arrived at Phil’s store, Duck Commander. After seeing it, Jase became curious about the letter he had been handed at church. It was the turning point.

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On the Unashamed with Phil Robertson podcast, Jase recounted receiving the letter from Phyllis. He stated, “I received the letter but didn’t read it. A week later, I was at Duck Commanders and discovered that Phyllis had also sent a letter there. Phil was not [yet] aware.”


Al And Jase Investigated

Jase mentioned that he received Phil’s mail at Duck Commanders and found a letter from Phyllis, the same one he had received from her in person. She had written two letters: one to Jase and another to the Robertson family, which he only saw when he was at HQ.

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Curiosity made him want to know what Phyllis wanted. He made Jase and Al read the letter, and they were just as surprised to find out about this “missing daughter.”


Should This Go To The Patriarch?

Once they had scoured the two letters, Jase and Al came together. They needed to know if their father was really her biological dad. If true, it would mean they have a half-sister. However, a question arose: how could she prove it?

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A DNA test was one of the options, but, more importantly, how would they break this news to their parents? The brothers were curious yet worried about the consequences. This news could potentially break up their parents’ marriage.


Phil: Let’s Do a Test

On the podcast, Al spoke about his feelings on the news that Phyllis had written in her letter. He said, “It was difficult for me to sleep. My mind was filled with possibilities. It was exciting for me. If it was true, it meant I have a sister out there.”

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Phil was the one who decided to take the paternity test to confirm it. It’s a testament to his character as a father that he would humor this idea from a woman he’d never met.


The Results Came Back: She Was His Daughter

The brothers were expecting immediate results from the paternity test, but it was a few days of anxious waiting. They were dying to know the test results. They had so many questions—did they have a sister?

Source: Tony Thomas/Facebook

After a few days of waiting, the results came in. Phyllis finally had the answer she was looking for—the test confirmed that Phil Robertson was her biological father. After all the mystery and questions, she found her real dad and the Robertson family found a new member.


The Duck Family Tree Got A Little Bigger, Too

Phyllis’s journey of searching for her biological father had finally come to an end. She now had irrefutable proof that her father was Phil Robertson—star of the legendary Duck Dynasty TV show. After he received the results, Phil invited Phyllis to come and meet the family.

Source: Instagram/Missy Robertson (@missyduckwife)

It was an emotional reunion, and Phyllis finally found what she had been seeking: the truth. She covered the whole story on his podcast, and the two have since been reconnecting—a difficult but not impossible task, given their story.