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Celebrity Families

EXCLUSIVE: Dr Chris Brown's "emotional ride" as he learns about his unexpected family history

''It just writes itself, really!''

By Scott Ellis
Veterinarian Dr Chris Brown is happy to admit he walks a fine line between art and science.
A successful animal doctor with a genuine passion for the medical world and all it can do, he's also drawn to the arts as a way of expressing himself.
"There's some sort of internal battle going on between the arts and science, they duel it out inside me each day to see who comes out on top!" Chris, 43, says.
But he's not sure why.
Dr Chris Brown is passionate about the arts and science. (Image: SBS)
Born in Newcastle to a vet father and a paediatric therapist mother, he was always grounded in the academic world, but perhaps his love of the arts comes from somewhere else?
Looking back into his family history, he soon finds a heritage that might explain his split passions… and a lot more.
His two-times grandfather William Roberts, he finds, was a keen photographer - "perhaps that's where it comes from!" Chris says of his own love of the camera, but what he also finds is far more unexpected.
Looking back into his family history, Chris soon finds a heritage that might explain his split passions. (Image: SBS)
William, he learns, was the illegitimate son of his three-times grandfather, successful socialite William Reddish who was married to someone else at the time of the birth.
Kept a secret, the young boy's parentage was registered under his mother's name… along with another child who proves the illicit relationship not only didn't end, but flourished.
"This is a desperate situation," Chris says and it's also a whole new branch of Dr Chris's family he never knew existed and one that opens a can of worms for him.
WATCH: Dr Chris Brown and Sam Mac duet. Article continues after video
"I'm going to have to fight against every single temptation when I have kids not give them the middle name Reddish so they are Reddish-Brown," he laughs. "It just writes itself, really!"
Going further back, he finds another ancestor who found renown as a painter – although not quite in the way Chris had hoped.
It's all part of a story of love, determination and devotion to family that rings a familiar bell for Chris, who has always believed his family is what has helped him become who he is today.
"I think being a part of this experience really shows you that family is everything," Chris says of his time on Who Do You Think You Are? (Image: SBS)
"I think being a part of this experience really shows you that family is everything," Chris tells TV WEEK, "they're what grounds you and gives you perspective... and let's be real, the ones who occasionally frustrate you!
"But seeing the joy (and intrigue) that family brought these relatives of mine did provide quite the emotional ride!"
Watch Who Do You Think You Are? on SBS, Tuesday, 7.30pm

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