Actor Joe Manganiello discusses his Armenian roots, reveals plans to visit Armenia

Actor Joe Manganiello, known for his hit roles on ‘Magic Mike’ and ‘True Blood’, is sharing the story of his family’s history, roots, and Armenian culture.  

He spoke about his family’s past in Armenia during an Armenian Genocide commemorative event at the Alex Theater in Glendale Monday night, Fox 11 reports.

He told the story of his great-grandmother who survived the 1915 Armenian Genocide and moved to America.  

She gave birth to a German-Armenian girl, Manganiello’s grandmother, and eventually moved to Worcester, Massachusetts and married an Armenian man.

Manganiello said it’s important to share the stories of our ancestors and spread awareness of the issues.  

“I didn’t realize how underrepresented the Armenian story is out there, I didn’t realize how me telling my great-grandmother’s story, just simply she survived therefore I can be here today to tell her story and say her name and have a show like Dr. Gate’s show ‘Finding your Roots’, to have the ability to have me tell her story. I didn’t realize how many of those stories haven’t been heard and how many people don’t know the story of the Armenians,” he said at the event.  

And even though the genocide occurred over a century ago, an ethnic cleansing of Armenians is occurring now in Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh.

“There are still atrocities happening now. It is definitely true for the Armenians; if there could have been some sort of repercussion you wonder if what happened in World War II couldn’t have been avoided,” Manganiello stated.  

His mother was Armenian, so Manganiello and his brother grew up surrounded by Armenian food, culture and language.  

“My mother was Armenian, and so, you know, that’s the food I grew up with. I grew up with grape leaves, I grew up with lahmajoun, I grew up with sujuk and eggs, I grew up with pilaf and tabbouleh, which is not my thing, but I ate tons of it. And being around my mother, that’s what she cooked for us.”

Manganiello hasn’t visited Armenia yet but plans to visit soon with his brother due to a new project he’s working on. He said knowing his family’s history and sharing it with the world makes him complete and encourages all people to share their ancestor’s story and to not forget where you came from.

“I will always be proud of what my great-grandmother went through so that I could be here. I will always carry that with me, and I think that every Armenian should be proud of their ancestors and what they did so that we could all be here.”

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