Home Editor Picks Michael Douglas’ surprising DNA connection to Scarlett Johansson revealed

Michael Douglas’ surprising DNA connection to Scarlett Johansson revealed

Michael Douglas’ surprising DNA connection to Scarlett Johansson revealed


In an extraordinary twist of fate, Michael Douglas discovered he shares more than just the silver screen with Scarlett Johansson—the two are, in fact, distant relatives. 

This revelation was made on the PBS series Finding Your Roots, where host Henry Louis Gates Jr. delighted Douglas with the news that Scarlett is his “DNA cousin.”

Astonished by the discovery, Michael, at 79, could hardly contain his excitement. “Are you kidding?” he exclaimed, before adding, “Oh, that’s amazing. All right. This is cool. This is so cool.” 

The investigation, led by Gates and a team of professional genealogists, uncovered that Michael and Scarlett, 39, have identical segments of DNA across four chromosomes. 

Michael is married to Catherine Zeta Jones© Rich Fury
Michael is married to Catherine Zeta Jones

Gates elucidated that these genetic links trace back to Johansson’s maternal lineage, originating from Jewish communities in Eastern Europe.

The Oscar-winning actor joyfully anticipated their next meeting, saying, “That’s incredible. Well, I look forward to seeing Scarlett next time!”

Both actors have made significant contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, with Scarlett portraying Natasha Romanoff and Douglas bringing to life Hank Pym in the 2019 blockbuster Avengers: Endgame.

Scarlett Johansson in a black midi dress© Getty
Michael Douglas is related to Scarlett Johansson

Michael’s heritage is deeply rooted in the Jewish community, with his paternal grandparents having emigrated from Russia to America. The celebrated actor, father of three, has been married to Catherine Zeta-Jones since 2000.

The episode featuring Michael, which aired on April 2, is part of the tenth season of Finding Your Roots, a series that has been uncovering genealogical mysteries for public figures since 2012. 

This season also surprised Lena Dunham, revealing her to have a common ancestor with filmmaker Larry David. Dunham, 37, expressed her excitement: “This is the hottest information I could have ever gotten. My husband’s going to freak out!”

Finding Your Roots has made several remarkable discoveries over its tenure, linking Edward Norton to Julia Roberts through genetics, revealing Kerry Washington’s conception through a sperm donor, connecting Bob Odenkirk to royalty and Nathan Lane, and uncovering Viola Davis’s relation to Anita Hill.

Michael with his wife and daughter Carys© Stephane Cardinale – Corbis
Michael with his wife and daughter Carys

Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s own quest to understand his lineage was the spark that led to the creation of Finding Your Roots. 

He shared with PEOPLE his awe at the power of DNA testing to trace ancestry back 500 years, stating, “When you spit in that test tube, you never know what’s going to pop out.” 

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr. airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on PBS, offering audiences a fascinating glimpse into the ancestral backgrounds of some of the most well-known faces in the public eye.

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