Dropping a bombshell. Jill Zarin and her ex-husband Steven Shapiro conceived their daughter, Ally Shapiro, with a sperm donor — which was a secret that they originally planned to keep.
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"We were going to take it to our grave, nobody knew. We had no plan to tell [Ally]," the Real Housewives of New York City alum, 56, said on a recent episode of Heather McDonald‘s "Juicy Scoop" podcast.
Zarin explained that she and Steven decided to use a sperm donor to conceive Ally, 27, after they struggled with fertility issues. However, it wasn't a topic that they wanted to discuss at the time because of the stigma surrounding using a sperm donor.
"This was many many years ago … and in those days it was very early on in this whole sperm donor business. At the time people said, ‘You just don't say anything. Do the insemination and then have sex and pretend that's how you got pregnant then,'" Zarin recalled. "Because there was, like, a shame to it back then."
Although Zarin and Steven tried to pick a sperm donor that resembled him, Ally looked different than her father because she was shorter than him and had blue eyes.
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The former Bravo personality claimed that a relative became suspicious and tried to blackmail Zarin into telling the truth by emailing all of Ally's extended family. According to Zarin, the relative asked the other family members, "Why is Ally the fattest in the Shapiro family?" and "Why does Ally have blue eyes and no one else does?"
Zarin and Steven decided to tell Ally after she graduated college but their plans were derailed when Ally discovered her mom's emails with the relative on the computer.
Ally told McDonald, 49, that her mom explained to her: "We were never going to tell you like this and we didn't know when the right time was, but basically, your dad's your dad, but we had a difficult time having you and we used a sperm donor."
Although Ally discovered the news abruptly, she hopes to take her time when making a decision about whether she wants to meet her sperm donor or any potential siblings.
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"I didn't have a say in when I was told and how I was told or who my siblings are now," she explained. "I feel like I can choose now when I want to meet this guy and what our relationship is and boundaries … I think I want to meet him when the timing is right for both of us. I feel like now's not the right time."
Zarin and Steven divorced in 1998 after nearly a decade of marriage. The former reality star tied the knot for a second time in 2000 with Bobby Zarin, who passed away in January 2018. Us Weekly confirmed Jill had started dating Gary Brody five months after her late husband's death.