Diana and Berry were a couple back in the 1960s and 70s but their relationship didn't last too long.
Growing up, a father's love makes a big difference in the way our personalities are formed. An absentee parent in your younger years can shape your personality well into adulthood, and more often than not, it is in negative ways. But what if you find out the parent you have come to know as your own is someone you do not share blood with? This is how it was for Rhonda, singer Diana Ross's daughter.
The eldest daughter of the artist has grown up with the immense popularity and fame of her mother. Diana and her husband Robert Silberstein built a wonderful family together with five kids. The fame and glamour of Hollywood never affected this tightly knit family. But as it turns out, not everything was as perfect as it seemed. Silberstein wasn't Rhonda's father. Then who was it?
When Motown Records owner Berry Gordy met Diana in the 1960s, he couldn't help but appreciate the talented singer. Together they made chartbuster hits and by 1965, they became a couple. Gordy was sure head over heels for Diana but for the sake of their careers, the duo decided to restrain themselves and stick to being strictly professional with each other, reported Amomama.
Two months later after breaking up with Gordy in 1971, Diana Ross married business executive Robert Ellis Silberstein, while she was already pregnant with Rhonda. Silberstein accepted the singer's baby as his own.
Rhonda, who's sung hits like Stay, Drumbeat of Life, and Breathe was just 12 years old when her appearance started bothering her. She noticed that she looked different from her siblings and so the doubts gave rise to questions. While giving an interview with Fuse TV, the singer revealed, "I started to ask my mother some questions about ‘why am I not growing?’ Because Bob, who raised me, is 6 foot something, and Berry is 5’7,” as per Amomama.
“So, I was wondering why I wasn’t getting taller. I just had pre-teen questions about myself and my relationship to the world and that sort of thing. And so, she [Diana] sat me down one day and said, ‘here’s the deal,” she added.
“The bottom line was, I looked just like [Gordy], and my sisters looked just like their father, a 6-foot-tall Jewish American man,” she said as per New York Post. She also spoke about how Silberstein accepted her as his daughter even “though he knew I wasn’t his when my mother was pregnant.”
When the questions got too many, Diana decided to reveal the long-kept-secret. Rhonda was 13 when her mother told her that the man she had looked up to as her father for 13 years wasn't her real father. And someone she had been calling "uncle" during the time was, in fact, her father. It might seem like a bombshell to drop on a young teen, but for Rhonda, finding out about "Uncle B.B's" real connection with her was a relief.
Diana admired Gordy a lot and so his closeness with the family made him "Uncle B.B" for the kids. Unlike the other mother, Rhonda wasn't close to Gordy, reported Amomama. So finding out that she was his daughter was a shock for the singer but her fans knew about the supposed secret all along. Talking about her experience with the fans, she said, "I’d meet fans on the street who’d say, ‘Oh child, we knew you were Berry Gordy’s daughter — you look just like him!’ ”
“I went to Berry and we re-started a different kind of relationship. All of these things that I knew about him sort of in a third person, he was able to talk to me about one to one,” Rhonda said recalling the time after the truth was revealed. She continued, “We figured it out."
Now, the singer shares a beautiful relationship with both, Gordy and Silberstein. Rhonda loves the fact that she has two "dads." Her son Reif, too, shares a close bond with both his grandfathers.
Talking to Ray Cornelius in 2019 on the UPFRONT podcast she revealed that Diana and Gordy's relationship taught her a lot of things. “I think that’s what both he and my mother have taught me, the sense of ‘belief in yourself and go for it.’ It doesn’t matter if you have never seen anyone else do it, it doesn’t matter if no else has ever done it, it doesn’t matter who doesn’t believe that you can do it," she said.
She also disclosed that her mom, Diana, and father, Gordy, never let their past relationship stain current lives. They continued to make their present and future beautiful by making their bond stronger with one another, Silberstein and the family. It is their respect for one another that has helped them make their name respectable in the industry even today.