AGT's Jackie Evancho and Trans Activist Sister Isolate with Divorcing Parents and Their New Partners
"There may be fights and screaming or crying, but it all lays on top of a strong cement of love," Jackie Evancho said in a letter obtained by PEOPLE
Former America’s Got Talent star Jackie Evancho is practicing social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic by living with her trans activist sister Juliet, her parents who are in the middle of their divorce, her father’s partner, her mother’s partner, who is a transgender female, and a transgender man whom the family has taken in.
In a letter exclusively obtained by PEOPLE, the 19-year-old revealed her family’s unprecedented circumstances, which also include her younger siblings Zachary and Rachel.
“We can all agree that this new year has not been off to the best start. With tragedy on top of tragedy, it’s hard to find the good in the world. Now with the virus, the world is in a state of panic and pessimism,” she began. “My goal so far has been to try to find a silver lining in all of this.”
“Some background is needed for this to make sense,” Jackie wrote before revealing that her mom Lisa, who has Lyme disease, and dad Michael decided to divorce just months before the modern family began living together.
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“Starting at the end of 2019, my parents decided to separate and are now divorcing,” she explained. “They are still great friends and are committed to their children. They’ve continued down the path of divorce and now they both have other significant others in their lives. I love both of my parent’s partners, and as their child, I wish for them both to be happy no matter what.”
“What’s even more amazing is that my mom’s partner is a transgender female, and my dad’s partner has a daughter who I already see as another sister,” Jackie wrote. “Admittedly, it was hard at first for all of us. We viewed their separation as the falling apart of a family. They were my ideal idea of love, and I felt that disappeared before my eyes. Through deep thought and consideration, though, I learned that their love is still there and even stronger without the strain of marriage over their shoulders. They are even happier when communicating now.”
For the classical singer, who was named runner-up on season 5 of AGT in 2010 and competed on America’s Got Talent: The Champions last year, her unique living arrangement has brought her newly blended family closer.
“Now, with the COVID-19 global pandemic shutting down the world, my family’s been faced with some important decisions that I imagine many families are now facing,” she wrote. “My mom and dad discussed the situation, and while they each have new partners, they decided to bring everyone together at our family home and ride this out as one large ‘family.'”
Jackie also shared that the family is caring for an additional person throughout the outbreak — a transgender man who she says was rejected by his family.
“Not only that, but my mother has taken in a young transgender man and given him safe harbor from an unaccepting family as a part of her Brave Heart United nonprofit,” she wrote. “So this house of mine is now full from top to bottom of diversity and love, and it’s working! We have all come together to fight this, working together to find comfort in so much discomfort. I’ve learned that love is such a strong glue for our family and it helps us function so much better.”
“There may be fights and screaming or crying, but it all lays on top of a strong cement of love and loyalty,” she added. “This pandemic may be horrific and scary, but through it we find ourselves latching onto things that won’t disappear and family is the largest thing I’ve found myself clinging to. Blood related or not, we are all a family in this house that most would see as broken.”
Jackie also has words of encouragement for others who are also isolating with their families.
“Where the crack in our family once was has been filled with new and wonderful people and the family has come out stronger and happier for it,” she wrote. “So if you feel hopeless in this crazy world were currently living in, just look to the family you are contained with and smile. Be grateful that they are with you and fighting this by your side. Related or not, love is what makes us connected.”
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