U2’s Bono reveals his cousin is also his half-brother: “We felt like brothers long before we knew”

Bono of U2

U2 singer Bono has revealed that his cousin is also his half-brother.

The musician’s father, Bob Hewson, had an affair with his mother’s sister. Bono, whose real name is Paul Hewson, has said in his forthcoming memoir Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story that his father told him the news in 2000 before dying of cancer the following year.

Hewson and Bono’s aunt, Barbara, allegedly had an affair and had a son, Scott Rankin. Bono’s late mother, Iris, who died when Bono was 14, never found out about it.

The Irish Times reports that Bono mentioned the news earlier this year but did not link to the interview in question. The family story, however, is detailed in the singer’s memoir, which is released on November 1.

U2 singer Bono takes part in the festive launch of the Scholas Occurrentes International Movement held by Pope Francis at the Pontifical Urban University on May 19, 2022 in Vatican City, Vatican (Picture: Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Rankin has now told The Irish Times that he is “blessed to have been welcomed with open arms into the Hewson family”.

In Bono’s memoir, meanwhile, he writes that he always felt like he and Rankin were brothers. “The truth is with Scott, we felt like brothers long before we knew we were. I love Scott and his mother, Barbara,” reads one extract.

“I must have known that something was up, and I must have held my father responsible for kind of making my mother unhappy in the way kids just pick up things.”

Rankin continued: “Not all such stories turn out the way mine has and I was fortunate to discover that I had two fathers take an active part in my upbringing.” He made reference to Bob Hewson and Jack Rankin, the latter of whom is the brother of Bono’s mother Iris.

“Our extended family have known for some time and we agreed that it made no sense to keep this hidden any longer. Bono’s book also happens to be an appropriate and sensitive way for us to acknowledge the connection,” Rankin added. “We have only love for our parents and we’re grateful to have our families’ support in sharing this story.”

Bono of U2 and Apple CEO Tim Cook pose in a picture
Apple CEO Tim Cook (L) greets the crowd with U2 singer Bono (R) as The Edge looks on during a 2014 Apple special event. CREDIT: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Bono has been opening up about his personal life in published extracts from his forthcoming memoir. Most recently, he addressed the 2014 controversy where U2 arranged for their album ‘Songs Of Innocence‘ to be automatically downloaded onto the devices of 500million iTunes users.

In an extract published in The Guardian over the weekend, the singer wrote about the marketing ploy saying “critics might accuse me of overreach”, before admitting that “it is”.

Elsewhere in the memoir Bono has opened up about the alleged death threats he’s received.

Since then, the songwriter has said that he wants to release an AC/DC inspired album in the near future. Speaking to The New York Times, Bono said the album would come before ‘Songs Of Ascent’ – a new album the band have been teasing since 2009.

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