Edward Norton Learns How He Is Related to Pocahontas on PBS Show

The first episode of season nine of “Finding Your Roots” will air on PBS on Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 8 p.m. ET

For anyone who has watched “Glass Onion” on Netflix, it’s safe to say Edward Norton is the perfect criminal mastermind. Throughout the film, the clever socialite never seems to miss a step (of course until the end when his plan goes up in flames – literally). But that’s all on screen. 

When it comes to real life, Norton is actually just as human as everyone else. 

During an appearance on PBS’ “Finding Your Roots,” the American actor found out some unexpected truths about his family’s lineage, including ties to Native American heroine Pocahontas, and his reaction was genuine shock.

“This is about as far back as you can go … unless you’re a viking,” Norton said during the interview. “It makes you realize what a small piece of the human story you are.”

Is Edward Norton related to Pocahontas?

Norton’s lineage leads back to Pocahontas and John Rolfes’ 1614 marriage certificate. In fact, his 12th great grandmother is Pocahontas herself.

What did Edward Norton find out about his family on “Finding Your Roots”?

The show, which explores celebrities’ family trees, revealed that Norton’s ancestors owned a family of enslaved people, including a 55-year-old man, a 37-year-old woman and five young girls, aged 4, 6, 8, 9 and 10.

How did Edward Norton react to the finding?

“What’s it like to see that?” says host of the show, Henry Louis Gates Jr. 

“The short answer is, these things are uncomfortable, and you should be uncomfortable with them. Everybody should be uncomfortable with it,” said Norton. “It’s not a judgment on your and your own life but it’s a judgment on the history of this country.”

“It needs to be acknowledged first and foremost, and then it needs to be contended with,” he adds.

Norton, who is a descendant of the Rouse family, a clan of wealthy elites, says, “Again, when you read ‘slave aged eight,’ you just want to die.”

How did social media react to the unexpected reveal?

News sources reported the finding and as a result, fans of Norton clearly ran to back up the actor:

“I’m not responsible for what my great grandfather did,” said one Tweet. 

“All of our ancestors did something bad. Humans are no angels. Big whoop. Move on,” said another Tweet.

Other people seem to be frustrated by the news, referencing Norton’s wealth:

Who is Ed Norton’s family?

The “Glass Onion” star’s grandfather was James Rouse, a businessman and founder of The Rouse Company (1939). Rouse was a pioneering American real estate developer and urban planner who helped develop shopping malls in the 1950s. Norton’s great grandfather, William Goldsmith Rouse, was an attorney and a businessman. Many others in the family tree were successful real estate developers, including James’ nephew Willard Rouse III.

How old is Ed Norton?

The three-time Academy Award-nominated actor is 53 years old. 

How can I watch Finding Your Roots?

The first episode of season nine of “Finding Your Roots” will air on PBS on Tuesday, Jan. 3, at 8 p.m. ET. 

The episode will feature Norton and additionally, American actress Julia Roberts, who will also be exploring her family’s lineage. Roberts knew a little about her family’s history while growing up in Atlanta, including that she has Scandinavian and British roots, but during this episode, she finds out much more. “My heart is racing right now!” says Roberts in the episode.

How can I stream Finding Your Roots?

“Finding Your Roots” is available to stream on Prime Video, Vudu or Apple TV on a Roku device.

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