Christina Applegate finds good in a troubled family history

'Who Do You Think You Are': Christina Applegate Finds the Good in a Troubled Family History
'Who Do You Think You Are': Christina Applegate Finds the Good in a Troubled Family History

Bob Applegate had a lot of unanswered questions about his childhood, and his daughter, actress Christina Applegate, went on a mission to help provide some closure. What happened between Bob's parents? Why was he raised by his grandmother? He knew his mother died young, but when...and how?

Christina traveled to Bob's place of birth, New Jersey, to find details around her grandparents' relationship and custody battle over her father. Court documents showed that they were divorced soon after Bob was born. A nasty custody battle ensued, during which each accused the other of abusing alcohol. Ultimately, the court awarded custody to Bob's mother which baffles Christina.

"He said he never knew his mother and yet he lived with her for all of these years," she said.

Family law professor Meredith Schalick explained that one explanation for this discrepancy is that the mother could have passed away shortly thereafter.

Christina knew her grandmother had passed away at a young age, but was not sure of the details surrounding her death. She was not only surprised at when she died, but how she died. Bob had thought his mother passed away when he was 8 years old, but according to her death certificate, he was actually 13. He had also been told his mother was killed in a brutal and violent way. His mother actually succumbed to illnesses resulting from alcohol abuse.

When Christina shared this information with her father, he asked, "Is there any good in here anywhere?"

"Yeah, you want me to tell you what the good is? Here's the good, Dad," Christina replied poignantly. "The beauty of this is that you can be incredibly proud that you broke the pattern and that you raised all of us with giving us strength and intelligence and talent. This is the good part of the story."

"Well, that's good enough for me," Bob said.

Originally published