RHONY: What Jill Zarin Confessed About Her Daughter Ally's Biological Father

Former Real Housewife Jill Zarin runs with a fabulous circle of people, including her grown daughter, business partner, and all-around right-hand woman, Allyson Shapiro, a.k.a. Ally. "I have Allyson, who's from my previous marriage, and she's 14," Zarin told viewers during the inaugural episode of Bravo's "Real Housewives of New York" way back in 2008. "Ally's the joy of my life," she gushed.

As you may recall, Shapiro was only a freshman in high school when she made her debut as a Real Housewives kid, and for the most part, her life was like any other average young teen in America — ya know, minus the part about living on the affluential upper East side, attending exclusive private schools, and having many intimate moments of her life filmed and later aired for all the world to see.

Perhaps, however, all of the craziness that comes with appearing on reality television actually helped prepare Shapiro for the moment her mother confessed to a shocking secret she had been harboring regarding Shapiro's biological father: Ally was actually conceived via a sperm donor.

Jill never told Ally about her father — she found out on her own

Twenty-year-old Allyson "Ally" Shapiro was in for the shock of a lifetime when she learned that her biological father was actually a sperm donor — a secret her mother, Jill Zarin, had worked hard to keep hush-hush throughout Shapiro's entire life. The story goes that Zarin and her ex-husband Steven Shapiro experienced fertility struggles while trying to conceive naturally, and that's when they decided to take another route: artificial insemination via a sperm donor.  "We were going to take it to our grave, nobody knew," Zarin revealed in March 2020 during an episode of comedian Heather McDonald's "Juicy Scoop" podcast. "We had no plan to tell [Ally]." Alas, it appears the universe had a different plan. 

According to Zarin, a family member (whom Ally later revealed to be her ex-step-mother) began blackmailing both herself and her ex-husband, Shapiro, about the private information, and that's when they resolved to tell her after she graduated from college. But in a haphazard turn of events, Ally just so happened to come across the information all on her own after perusing her mother's private emails. "I never in a million years would have thought that. Like, I had no inkling," Ally said about learning the shocking information. "Yeah, I had blue eyes, and I'm shorter than everyone else, but never would have guessed it at all." 

The truth only strengthened Jill Zarin's bond with her daughter

In the end, however, the revelation turned out to be just what the mother-daughter duo Jill Zarin and Allyson "Ally" Shapiro needed. According to Shapiro, the news that her biological father was actually a sperm donor only strengthened their relationship with one another. "It just really bonded us together because now the secret was out there in the open, and we can just come together as a family, and we're stronger after," Shapiro divulged on an episode of "The Tamron Hall Show" in October 2022.

And as for Zarin? As it turns out, she was also happy that everything regarding her daughter's parentage was no longer a deep, dark secret. "It was a relief," Zarin declared. "And I was more afraid of Allyson's reaction. My feelings were a mirror of her. So, if she became hysterical, then I was going to be hysterical. If she took it like she did, then I was okay." As the age-old saying goes, like mother, like daughter.