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The 4 Worst Famous Relatives People Managed to Live Down

#2. Anne Bird

Who She Is

This California resident became a best-selling New York Times author after publishing a suspense thriller about a woman given up for adoption who reunites with her family ... only to suspect that the brother who lives with her is a scheming killer. It was sort of a reverse Dexter.

Oh, except it wasn't fiction, and the longer he lived with her, the more she came to believe that he had murdered Laci Peterson and their unborn son.

William Morrow Paperbacks
See? He even looks like Michael C. Hall.

The Relative

Laci Rocha had a huge smile and a passion for horticulture. Have you ever known any horticulturalists who weren't nice people? No, you have not, because they are one with the plants. Unfortunately, she married Scott Peterson, and was therefore quite an impediment to the household's "Scott Peterson Gets to Do Everything He Wants" plan.

Getty Images/Getty Images News/Getty Images

On Christmas Eve 2002, Peterson reported his wife missing. She was a pretty, pregnant white woman, three adjectives you might recognize as the media coverage trifecta. Very soon, the entire nation was watching the news story instead of It's a Wonderful Life.

It soon came to light that Scott was sticking his Peterson in so many women that he qualified for a gynecology doctorate. His philandering, of course, was at odds with his moral and financial responsibilities as a family man. Divorce was not an option, because it doesn't come with a hefty life insurance payout, so Peterson summoned his best psychopathy and dispatched his wife to the ocean. Her unborn son washed up a few months later, as did her badly degraded body the following day. If you're waiting for the joke about that, I'll make one as soon as I can stop shrieking.

Peterson was arrested in possession of everything you would need to convince police to do that: a ridiculous amount of camping equipment, an ax, a dagger, a gun, over $10,000 in cash, four cellphones, and other people's ID and credit cards. The only thing he didn't have was a good excuse for why he had dyed his hair blond.

Getty Images/Getty Images News/Getty Images
"As your lawyer, I advise you to stop murdering your family."

The Renunciation

In the wake of Laci's disappearance, the Peterson and Rocha families came together to endure the agonizing investigation. Scott stayed with his sister Anne, who had been welcomed back into the Peterson clan five years earlier.

Living in close proximity, Anne observed a lot of odd behavior from her brother as the case developed. While the Peterson family -- including Anne -- still supported Scott even after his arrest, she eventually realized that he was pretty good at this murder business, although not as good at pretending to miss his wife.

Anne wrote her memoir of the investigation, Blood Brother: 33 Reasons Why My Brother Scott Peterson Is Guilty. Its publication estranged her from the Petersons, since it's hard to brag that your kid's a New York Times best-selling author when the book's about how your other kid is damned in blood.

#1. Wafah Dufour

Who She Is

Born to parents of mixed Middle Eastern (and Swiss) backgrounds, this aspiring model/musician made a small splash around 2005 and 2006 when she scored a reality TV show about struggling in the entertainment industry. The show was pitched as bridging "the gap that people feel exists between the cultures she has lived in."

Dufour was born in Los Angeles and moved to Saudi Arabia, then Switzerland, before returning to America to earn a law degree at Columbia. Then one bright day in September, Wafah bin Ladin found it prudent to start using her mom's maiden name.

Getty Images/Getty Images News/Getty Images
He died as he lived: surrounded by porn.

The Relative

Osama bin Laden is the 17th son of Mohammed bin Awad bin Laden, who fathered 54 children. That's normally cause for a high-five, except when one of them tests a new form of murder on 3,000 people. Also, it's not super classy that the 22 wives who birthed them got dropped like a box of hot rocks when their faces wrinkled.

What's really important is that Wafah Dufour has never met her estranged dad's half-brother. Not even once. She was on bad terms with her father well before September 11, but that didn't stop people from sending her death threats. And I don't know about you, but when I send death threats to strangers, I make sure they've actually gotten away with a crime, like worshiping a different god than mine, or filming a Friedberg/Seltzer spoof movie.

Vince Bucci/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
No jury on earth would convict you, unless it was 12 drunken Pitbull fans.

The Renunciation

If you want to make it in the music industry, you need a hook to make it big. Most stars just wear clown wigs and sleep with John Mayer, but some are more audacious. For the people managing Wafah Dufour, the hook was her uncle's terrorist antics. Even the articles about her having zero connection to Osama bin Laden focus entirely on that relationship. While it's great to be forthcoming, introducing your client to everyone as "bin Laden's niece, but don't hold that against her" is not only marketing, it's bad marketing.

EvanAgostini/GettyImages
Girlfriend, your only crime was going blonde.

Dufour seemed to want to talk about anything besides her half-uncle, but her publicist insisted that she explain the matter. He also referred to her in public as Wafah bin Ladin, but encouraged reporters to move past that connection. When a publicist can't get his client's music onto the first page of Google returns for her name, he's less equipped to do his job than a Japanese whaler with a Nerf gun, and at least the whaler won't reopen any wounds.

Dufour appeared to truly want her name detached from a stranger's crimes. But when you hitch your wagon to media opportunist Judith Regan, you're hooking up with the lady who tried to make murder lucrative for OJ Simpson. Here's ReganMedia's press release, classily worded to show up in Web searches for "capture bin Laden."

ReganMedia needs to examine its values
Bin Ladin captured ... the hearts of America!

According to people monetizing a tragedy, the show's premise was "Can America overlook the bin Laden connection?" The answer: Not if that's your premise. You can't ask people to disregard your accident of birth while you use that same request as a springboard to fame. That trick only works for the Gottis, whose lawyers would like our lawyers to remind me to remind you that they are not associated with the mob -- although they are associated with something much more reprehensible: Judith Regan.

Brad Barket/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
The working title was eventually shortened to "Nope!"

Thankfully, producers passed on this program, and no pilot was ever produced. America will never forget that brave day when we, as a nation, spoke in one heroic voice to say, "No, Hollywood, not today. You can do anything else, but this ... this is the line right here."

TLC is a misnomer
And we're all better off for it ...?



Brendan once uncovered the Five Sexiest Details of Lana Kane. He whispers sweet nothings to you on Twitter @brendanmcginley.

Brendan defended family in 6 Pro-Gay-Marriage Arguments for Fighting With Crazy People and then ruined family forever in an Open Letter to My Unborn Son.

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