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Maria Menounos Once Severed Ties with Family

Maria Menounos Secret Family Confession

When you turn on the TV each night and watch the smiling, beautiful Maria Menounos on "Extra" it's easy to believe her Hollywood life is nothing but perfection. Bright lights, crimson red carpets and hobnobbing with the rich and famous, yes, but perfect? No.

In an exclusive one-on-one with AOL.com, Menounos reveals a painful period in her personal life when her family nearly turned its back on her for dating Italian-American boyfriend, Keven Undergaro. "It wasn't an easy situation," said Menounos. "He wasn't Greek so my dad was very upset, pretty much disowned me, took my education away... I was now pretty much homeless, no education, no degree, but I had Keven."

Undergaro called the early days of their relationship, "Romeo and Juliet without ending in full tragedy."

Menounos, 35, who can be seen showcasing the foibles of living with her family and boyfriend on her Oxygen reality show "Chasing Maria Menounos" says she's come a long way since her days living with Undergaro and chasing her Hollywood dreams from a basement in Boston. "There was a lady that we were close to growing up, " says Undergaro. "She was gracious enough to take us in and it was just an unfinished basement... "

Menounos says that it was in that basement, on a mattress on the floor surrounded by spiders where her dreams of Tinseltown came alive listening to Howard Stern's radio show. Determined to make her famous, Undergaro produced her resume tape and submitted it to a local news station. So began Menounos's road to stardom moving to LA and later becoming a correspondent for "Entertainment Tonight" and "Access Hollywood."

"The rest was history, " says Menounos. "My parents came out to visit. My dad apologized to Keven which I think is such a sign of, I don't know. I don't know a lot of men that can actually say they're sorry... It's so hard to give the whole story but it was really tragic and really, really hard. We spent so many nights clinging to each other crying and it was terrible."

Now a co-host of "Extra", author and co-star of her own reality show, the 35-year-old says she's hoping others will be inspired by her humble beginnings. "The opportunity with the show to kind of let people see that everything isn't always perfect and that they can overcome these kinds of obstacles too is really important. I think that getting to see where we started, where it all kind of began was important."

See where it all began as Menounos takes you back to her beginnings on "Chasing Maria Menounos" tonight at 10pm on Oxygen.

Join the discussion

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Ljack April 08 2014 at 4:27 PM

I would have stuck with Maria too. Women who love their father, family, and Friends. Are usually loyal, caring, and down to earth. Not to mention Menounos is on fire. A Greek Goddess.

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jsim6974 April 09 2014 at 12:36 AM

Listening to her on Stern is like nails on the chalkboard....brutal.

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josephyannuzzi April 08 2014 at 9:44 PM

I am Italian and our family has had quite a few Greeks marry family members. My take on this is that Greeks and Italians got along pretty well because of similarities and past history. However, we also know that many Greeks are very clannish and prefer to stay with their own.
Growing up Italian my mother and grandparents preferred us dating within our own ethnicity. I tried hard to find someone of my own heritage because of ethnic pride, and the ability to share our precious culture, and other commonalities.
Trying to find someone of your own ethnic group is not as easy as one might think. So today, I am happily married to a wonderful lady of the Jewish faith and we share a bond and love between both families that cannot be broken.
Old traditions die hard, but you cannot blame an entire race or ethnic group for trying to maintain their cultural traditions and heritage.

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jsimancas April 08 2014 at 6:26 PM

ALWAYS BEING HATE AMONG DIFFERENT NATIONALITIES: GREEKS AND ITALIANS IT HAS BEING FOR CENTURIES , MEXICANS AND AMERICANS , VENEZUELANS AND COLOMBIANS AND MANY MORE COUNTRIES , NORMALLY THE OLD PEOPLE STILL HAVE THAT HATE , ONE DAY IS GOING TO END

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lindahsrman April 08 2014 at 5:04 PM

I like her alot

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1 reply
Shang lindahsrman April 08 2014 at 7:46 PM

me too!

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Fed Up April 09 2014 at 10:37 AM

Don't people realize that No Man is Good Enough For Your Little Girl.

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ellen April 09 2014 at 12:01 PM

Oh, I went down that path. Greek parents were so adamant about retaining the Greek heritage. (NO, they were NOT bigots!) Very proud...........!

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1 reply
MARBLEBLUE ellen April 09 2014 at 2:26 PM

ME too!
Been there done that!
All is ok now, but I still feel like there's a very tiny part of my parents that wish I would have married a Greek! NEVER!!!!!!!!

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timwins31 April 08 2014 at 11:42 PM

Nice try *********. Stern got the scoop on you for this story about a week ago. . .yawn.

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maleesta2 April 09 2014 at 1:22 PM

Being Greek, I too was brought up to think that marrying a Greek guy was the Holy Grail. I never did.
Jenni Pulos from Flipping Out hit the lottery twice - not only did she marry a Greek guy but he's a doctor! I'm sure her parents are very, very happy.

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ppc192 April 09 2014 at 3:47 PM

Considering my first response was deleted with another ridiculous message directed towards me, I should add another piece of information. Their is an option of converting to Greek Orthodoxy. Obviously, this is a HUGE decision and other people outside of the relationship have to be considered. For those actually watching the show, you would know that Maria has asked Kevin (her boyfriend) to convert. That is why they go back to Boston during the latest Episode to speak with his mother. Again, that is why this path may not work for everyone. This does not mean they cannot get married. You DO NOT have to get married in the Greek church to get married. YES, GREEKS AND EVERYONE ELSE CAN MARRY WHOMEVER THEY WANT. Like I said in my example from the first message (below) my mom's cousins had an outdoor wedding. The point is, there are options. All these negative comments and confusion are simply from misunderstandings and being directed towards a certain family and religion. And please stop saying "this country" as if we all don't belong here!

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1 reply
Maria Velalis ppc192 April 09 2014 at 4:30 PM

Just to correct your statement. The Greek church allows mixed marriages. They do not have to convert. The bestman is required to be Greek Orthodox.

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