Netflix's The Irishman Star Claims Ed Sheeran Is Related To The Real Frank Sheeran

Robert De Niro de-aged in The Irishman

The Irishman, the new movie from Martin Scorsese, stars Robert De Niro as Frank Sheeran, a man who may have been involved in one of the most infamous disappearances in American history. The name Frank Sheeran may not be one that resonates with a lot of people, unless you're well versed in the history of organized crime, but his last name is probably more familiar to modern audiences, and there may be a reason for that.

According to the UK's The Sun, English actor Stephen Graham, who has a supporting role in The Irishman, claims that pop singer Ed Sheeran recently revealed to him that he is related to Frank Sheeran. According to Graham...

They're related, you know. Honest to God — I swear on my nana's life. That's what Ed said, he says it's his distant uncle.

While the exact connection between the two is far from clear, it seems that Ed Sheeran and Frank Sheeran share a last name because the two are actually related to each other.

Having said that, the connection is not exactly confirmed. The Daily Mail is reporting that genealogical research dating back 150 years says that any blood connection between the two is, at best, "very unlikely." It seems any relationship between the two Sheerans would have to be connected to Frank Sheeran's Irish-born great-grandfather, every following generation was born in the U.S., but such a connection is slim at best.

Of course, it doesn't mean that Ed Sheeran was knowingly lying if he does claim a relationship to Frank Sheeran, it's very possible that Ed Sheeran does believe there is a connection. He wouldn't be the first person to have been told a family story about a connection that didn't turn out to be strictly true. It's probably happened to a lot of us. Genealogy can get quite weird and people can often believe things about it that don't turn out to be true.

And of course, Frank Sheeran is, himself, a man with a questionable history. The events of The Irishman are based on the book, I Heard You Paint Houses. In which Sheeran confesses to killing Jimmy Hoffa. He also previously claimed to have knowledge that the Kennedy Assassination was a Mafia hit. These are things that might very well be true, but don't have much collaborating evidence.

Because the connection between the two is pretty slight, this probably isn't the sort of story that will ever find a clear answer. The fact that it's not all that important a question doesn't help either. It's certainly interesting that a popular pop singer might be distantly related to the guy who helped make Jimmy Hoffa disappear, but it probably doesn't change one's opinion of either Sheeran all that much even if it's all completely true.

Still, when The Irishman arrives on Netflix in a couple weeks, you can watch the whole thing thinking that the character being played by Robert De Niro is related to Ed Sheeran and see if that changes the Martin Scorsese epic for you in any measurable way.

The Irishman is in limited theatrical release now and will hit Netflix later this month.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.