TV star Sharon Osborne learned that her mother was thrown in jail when she was just 12 after a pair of stockings was stolen.
Osborne was appearing on the BBC show Who Do You Think You Are? She learned about both her Jewish and Irish heritage.
She said she was: “49 per cent Irish and the rest is Jewish.”
Osbourne’s Irish roots are on her mother Hope Shaw’s side. Hope was a music hall dancer in London in the 1930s.
During the show, Osbourne learned that Hope and her mother Dolly had been thrown in jail after Dolly had stolen a pair of stockings.
A newspaper headline read: “A Brixton Incident. Mother and daughter charged. Child takes the blame.”
Osborne said: “It broke my heart when I read that. My mum must have been terrified, just terrified. Can you imagine? I never knew any of this.”
The revelation changed the way she felt about her mother.
She told the Irish Sun: “I used to think, , she’s miserable’.
“She was depressed but in those days we didn’t know about depression, you’d just go, ‘Oh God, they’re miserable again’. My mother had a hell of a life. My opinion of her have totally changed.
“Now I understand why she was the way she was. It’s like, ‘Oh my God, what a bitch I was for never asking her’.
“I’d just like to say that I am so sorry about the time that was wasted between us. The years that we could have had an amazing relationship and I judged her so harshly.”
Elsewhere in the show, Osbourne learns the tragic fate of her ancestors who travelled to America in the mid-19th century in search of a better life.
She visited Newport, New England, where he discovered her ancestors were forced to work in cotton mills and treated as ‘slaves’.
The conditions were awful, and Osbourne’s great-great-grandmother Catherine lost five of her six children.
Osbourne said: “Here in America they stopped with slavery, people thought, but then they went on to bring white people from Europe over. I never knew this part of American history. It was just heartbreaking to read this.”
She also spoke about her father Levy, and the hardship he faced as a Jewish man fighting in the Second World War.
She said: “His name was Levy so of course they knew he was a Jew. There he was fighting for his country and everybody was torturing him. People from his own country were torturing him.
“They’d wake him up at two or three in the morning and it’s p***ing down with rain and they’re getting him to dig a hole outside. He’s like, ‘Why am I doing this?’. And they’re going, ‘Because you’re a Jew and this war is over you and this is why we have to fight and you’re going to dig a hole’. And he just went, ‘They’re going to kill me’.”