Brooke Shields discovers details about her grandmother Theresa Dollinger’s tragic life

On tonight’s Who Do You Think You Are, Brooke Shields begins her genealogical journey by discovering the story behind her maternal grandmother’s stormy demeanor. Shields was estranged from and resented her grandmother for most of her life because of the way her grandmother, Theresa Dollinger, treated her mom, Teri Schmonn.

Brooke begins her journey by explaining how 9/11 shook her out of an egocentric attitude and made her want to think about the world outside of herself.

She goes to Newark, New Jersey to connect with her grandmother Theresa Dollinger’s past. While wading through birth certificates Brooke discovers that her grandmother had two younger brothers Brooke had never heard of, John and Edward. John died when he was just an infant.

Theresa’s mother, Ida died when she was only 38, of uterine cancer. Theresa was only 10 years old, with two living younger siblings and no doubt had to help raise brother and sister. When Edward was 13 and 1/2, he drowned in a river. Faced with the death of her mother, adult responsibilities at an early age, and the death of her brother, Brooke surmises that her grandmother Theresa had to go through a great deal of hardship early in life that she never recovered from. Not really an excuse to be bitter, but definitely a reason.