The Wild Story Of Sean Astin’s Paternity And How He Found Out Who His Biological Father Is


Sean Astin is one of Hollywood’s more drama-free celebrities, but the actor’s birth was anything but! Astin had a bit of a wild ride when it came to learning who his biological father really was. Fortunately, it ended well.

Patty Duke’s Relationships With Three Different Men

Astin was born in 1971 to actress Patty Duke. At the time of Astin’s conception, she was involved with three different men—actors Desi Arnaz Jr. and John Astin, as well as rock promoter Michael Tell. 

When she learned she was pregnant, Duke married Tell, but the marriage lasted just 13 days. Astin was born seven months after the wedding was annulled. Duke claimed her relationship with Tell was never consummated and maintained that John Astin was her son’s father. In 1972, she and John wed. They divorced in 1985. 

How Astin Found Out Who His Father Really Was

Duke spent years naming John Astin as her son’s father, but soon changed her story. When Sean was 14 years old, Duke told him Arnaz was actually his father. Sean and Arnaz went on to form a relationship, but further complications arose when a 20-something Sean met one of Tell’s relatives. 

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The relative noticed a similarity between Tell and Astin and suggested the two might be related. Sean decided to finally get some answers, and underwent genetic testing. The results? Tell was his biological father. 

He’s Close To All Three Men, Plus His Step-Father

Even though Sean Astin now knows who his biological father is, he still maintains close relationships with all three men he saw as his dad over the years. In a 2004 interview, Astin spoke about his connections with Tell, John Astin, and Arnaz. 

“Desi Arnaz Jr. loves me and I love him. We are so close,” he shared. “Science tells me…that he’s not my biological father. Science tells me that Michael Tell is.” Sean also said he considers John Astin his father because he was raised by him. 

The actor is close with all three men, as well as his step-father, Mike Pearce, who married Duke in 1986. “I can call any of them on the phone any time I want to,” Sean explained. “John, Desi, Mike, or Papa Mike…my four dads.”

Duke disagrees with the genetic tests that state Tell is her son’s father; instead, she prefers to believe that Arnaz is. The pair have agreed to disagree and remain close today. Sean Astin’s journey of discovering who his biological dad really is was pretty complicated, but it seems like the actor is perfectly happy with his four famous fathers.



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