Tearful reunion! Lea Michele tells Us Weekly exclusively that one moment in particular from her Sunday, May 1, episode of Who Do You Think You Are? led her family to get emotional.
The Scream Queens star (born Lea Michele Sarfati) is featured in the TLC genealogy series’ season 8 finale, where she learns more about her family heritage on father Mark Sarfati‘s side. Michele’s dad is Jewish and grew up in the Bronx but didn’t know much about his roots.
“My dad and I had the best time doing this together, and it was really such a bonding experience for the both of us,” the Glee alum, 29, tells Us. “My dad’s like my best friend, so this was just such a great thing for us to do together.”
A particularly memorable moment in the episode happens when Michele meets an Israel-based relative, who actually used to live with the actress’ parents but hasn’t seen them since 1983.
“That was incredible!” the Brunette Ambition author says of meeting the relative, whose identity Us will not reveal. “I remember hearing that name growing up a little bit … That’s so incredible to know that there are people out there. It’s not even that she was such a far generational gap between us.”
“My dad cried when he saw her — so did my mom,” Michele continues. “It was really amazing, and I think I’m going to have to plan a trip to Israel at some point to see the rest of my family.”
Us can exclusively share a clip from the episode showing the star reading a letter from her great-grandfather Morris that urged the U.S. government not to deport then-fiancée Benouta (Michele’s great-grandmother) for illiteracy. Watch the scene in the video above.
The two-part Who Do You Think You Are? season 8 finale airs on TLC Sunday, May 1, at 8 p.m. ET, beginning with Chris Noth‘s installment. It wraps up with Michele’s episode at 9 p.m. ET.