The wild story of Sean Astin’s paternity and how he discovered his biological father


Sean Astin is one of Hollywood’s more drama-free celebrities, but the actor’s birth was anything but! It was quite a ride for Astin when it came time to discover his biological father. It ended happily.

Patty Duke’s Relationships With Three Different Men

Astin was born to Patty Duke in 1971. 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. 

Duke and Tell were married when she found out she was pregnant. However, the marriage lasted only 13 days. Astin was conceived seven months after the annulment. Duke claimed her relationship with Tell was never consummated and maintained that John Astin was her son’s father. John and she were married in 1972. They split in 1985. 

How Astin discovered who his father really was

Duke spent years naming John Astin as her son’s father, but soon changed her story. Sean was 14 when Duke revealed to him that Arnaz was actually his dad. 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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A relative noticed similarities between Tell and Astin, and suggested that the two could be related. Sean wanted to find out more so he underwent genetic testing. The results? Tell was Tell’s biological dad. 

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

Sean Astin knows his biological father, but he maintains close relationships to all three men he considered his dad over the years. Astin discussed his connections to John Astin, Tell, and Arnaz in a 2004 interview. 

“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 said that John Astin is his father, as he was raised there. 

The actor is very close to all three men as well as Mike Pearce, his stepfather 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. Both of them have decided to disagree but remain close to each other 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.