The film is about Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a real-life hustler and hitman who served as an American labor union official and later confessed to the killing of Teamster labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa

By Maria Pasquini
November 11, 2019 04:15 PM
Ed Sheeran and Robert De Niro
Keith Mayhew/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty; Netflix

Could Ed Sheeran have a mobster in the family tree?

While promoting The Irishman, actor Stephen Graham claimed that the “Shade of You” singer, 28, is distantly related to Frank Sheeran, the real-life hitman played by Robert De Niro in the movie.

“It’s all based on true events,” Graham said during an interview on BBC’s The One Show. Seemingly struggling to remember the name of the central character, Graham noted that he thought “of Ed Sheeran” to help jog his memory.

“Apparently they’re related, you know,” he added. “Honest to God, I swear on my nana’s life. That’s what Ed said, he says it’s his distant uncle.”

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While the hitmaker has yet to open up about his family tree himself, there may not actually be that strong of a connection between the pair.

A team of expert genealogists told The Daily Mail that “birth, marriage and death records in Britain and America dating back to 1845 show no direct link between the two men.”

They went on to explain that according to records, Frank’s parents and grandparents were born in the United States, which would make it very unlikely for the mobster to be an uncle of the singer’s. However, Frank’s great-grandfather could have been born in Ireland — where Ed’s family is from — which means the pair could be fourth cousins, according to the outlet.

Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in The Irishman
Niko Tavernise/Netflix

The Irishman, which is headed to Netflix this month, is based on Charles Brandt’s best-selling nonfiction book I Heard You Paint Houses. The movie stars De Niro as Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran, a real-life hustler and hitman who served as an American labor union official and later confessed to the killing of Teamster labor union leader Jimmy Hoffa.

The three-and-a-half-hour epic tale also stars Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Jesse Plemons, Harvey Keitel, Ray Romano and Anna Paquin.

The Irishman is currently playing in select theaters and will begin streaming on Netflix on November 27.

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