Susan Sarandon's Shocking Discovery About Her Grandmother

Traveling to Italy for tonight's episode of Who Do You Think You Are?, the Oscar winner gains insight into her past

The NBC series Who Do You Think You Are? (executive-produced by Lisa Kudrow) asks a variety of celebrities to explore their ancestry -- and as shown in tonight's episode, that kind of exploration has helped Oscar-winning actress Susan Sarandon discover some unexpected truths in her family history.

For the episode, Sarandon, 63, traveled to Italy to learn all about her mother's mother, Anita, who had abandoned her 2-year-old daughter. "I had tried years before to track Anita down, so it was a small price to pay that people were discovering it as I was discovering it," the actress told

So just what did she find out about Anita? For one thing, she was very young when she became a mother. Orphaned at 10 years old, Sarandon's maternal grandmother had gotten pregnant at the age of 12 -- and gave birth at age 13. "It was a relief that she hadn't had any other children, I think that was something that would've really disturbed my mother," Sarandon told

"Immediately my sympathy for her was complete when you look at it as this little girl, left without her mom," said Sarandon, who is joined on tonight's episode by her 17-year-old son Miles. She added that she felt relieved to learn that Anita "finally ended up having a really sweet little life." 

Sarandon, who also looked into whether her grandmother knew Frank Sinatra at one point, noticed that she and Anita were closer in ways than she could have ever imagined. "Some of the tenacity and curiosity that Anita had, I feel I've inherited," she said. "And certainly there is some physical resemblance."

The journey to find her maternal grandmother wasn't just an important experience for Sarandon, but for the Oscar winner's mom as well. "It gave my mother a little bit more peace of mind to have a sense of what happened," Sarandon said. "We had vague notions of early beginnings on that side of the family, but it was nice to finally have some sense of closure." 

Sarandon's episode of Who Do You Think You Are? airs tonight (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.

Have you ever researched ancestors on your family tree? Chime in below!

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