MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ'S TWISTED FAMILY SECRET

Published on: June 1, 2012
Photography by: Jackson Lee / Splash News
MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ

"Lost" hottie MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ is the product of kissing cousins!

The 33-year-old actress recently learned that her great-great grandparents on her father's side were first cousins — and that several more of her dad's relatives practiced inbreeding!

"I guess my father's side loved to do it in the family," quipped Michelle, who soared to stardom in the 2000 indie hit "Girlfight."

Researchers discovered her family's incestuous link when Michelle's genealogical background was explored on the PBS show "Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr." she also Learned that three of her great-grandfathers were brothers, and that her father's Puerto Rican ancestors deliberately married family members in a practice known as endogamy.

They inbred in a bid to maintain the family's lighter skin color because they believed lighter-skinned people were more high class than dark-skinned folks.

The "Avatar" actress, who was born in San Antonio, Texas, said that she witnessed the effects of endogamy first-hand as a child when her father's light-skinned Puerto Rican family looked down on her mother's darker relatives from the Dominican Republic.

Her parents divorced when she was 8, and Michelle — who has several DUI busts under her belt — credits her difficult childhood for her tough-girl image both on and off the screen.

"My dad was so clouded and miserable part of the time, so he just hit the bottle hard," she said. "My mom wasn't about that stuff."

On the PBS show, the "Machete" star was also stunned to learn that her DNA lineage was 72 percent European, 21 percent black and 6 percent Native American.

"I'm appalled," said Michelle. "I'm European? Ewww! I wanted to be Native American!" As for the news that she's got a lot of African- American blood, Michelle said: "I need to shoot over there (Africa) and get in touch with my roots."

And commenting on her ancestors' marital history, the still-single beauty told a pal: "Even though my great-grandparents were first cousins, I don't think I'll ever go down that path if I ever get married."