HEALTHY LIVING
07/23/2014 05:23 pm ET Updated Jul 23, 2014

It's Entirely Possible That Your Spouse Is Also Your Cousin

You fall in love. You tie the knot. And then you find out you’re related to your spouse.

A.J. Jacobs, an author and Esquire Editor at Large, joined HuffPost Live host Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani to discuss this potentially uncomfortable scenario. When it comes to coupling up with someone who turns out to be a distant cousin, how close is too close?

For Jacobs, this wasn't just a hypothetical question.

“I took a 23andMe test and it came back with a list of my cousins and one of them was my wife,” said Jacobs, referring to a genetics kit that uses DNA testing. “I thought it was very interesting.”

Genealogist Jen Baldwin joined the conversation to explain how common it is for significant others and spouses to learn they are related.

“It certainly does happen. It’s rare, I still think at this point, but with DNA evolving and advancing and the testing becoming more readily available, it certainly is increasing in frequency," said Baldwin.

Jacobs was surprised to learn that he's related to his wife, but the unexpected connections didn't end there. Through Global Family Reunion, Jacobs's campaign to host the biggest family reunion ever, he has unearthed quite a roster of his distant cousins, including Daniel Radcliffe, Olivia Wilde, Abraham Lincoln, George H.W. Bush, Barbara Bush and NPR host Ophira Eisenberg.

To hear more of the conversation, watch the full HuffPost Live clip in the video above.

Subscribe to the Lifestyle email.
Life hacks and juicy stories to get you through the week.

CONVERSATIONS