02/16/2012 11:54 am ET

Kate Upton A 'Great Gal,' Says Uncle, Michigan Congressman Fred Upton (VIDEO)

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) is a 13-term congressman and chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He's also the uncle of model Kate Upton, who was recently selected as cover-girl for this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition, so none of the earlier stuff really matters to anyone right now.

In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Upton called his niece a "great gal" and joked that her newfound stardom had some people on Capitol Hill questioning his genes.

"I got a lot of my colleagues that are asking if I was adopted," Upton said.

(Video above via GOP12)

"Her dad, my brother, we live in the same town. We do a lot of stuff together," Upton continued. "It's been fun to watch her grow up. She's only 19, but we're all proud of Kate."

Earlier on Thursday, Kate Upton talked with Fox News about "Uncle Fred," whom she said had called to congratulate her after being picked for the magazine.

"I have a very close and supportive family, and they're all very proud of me," she said.