AGT magician Jon Dorenbos recently spoke about reuniting with his estranged father after a tragic childhood. When Jon was just 12 years old, his father killed his mother and was convicted of second-degree murder.
According to People, Jon was sent to a foster home before being adopted by an aunt and uncle. Before his daughter was born earlier this year, Jon met with his father, who had been out of prison for several years.
The magician said his “world just changed” after his mother’s death. “My dad was my hero,” he told Fox News. “This is the guy that is supposed to show me what life’s about… show me about trust and love and all this. But yet he betrayed our family more than anybody.”
“I learned this, that the more we hold grudges, the less we forgive and the more we have bitterness, the more it affects our life,” Jon Dorenbos said of his decision to meet with his father. He said he wanted “to find the motivation to be a better father to my daughter.”
“I didn’t forgive him for taking my mom away, but I forgave him for being lost,” Jon explained to Ellen DeGeneres earlier this month. He also shared his belief that forgiveness has “nothing to do with that other person at all,” but is rather about “coming to terms with my own reality, doing the best I can with it, and being at peace with it.”
The Seattle Times reported that Alan Dorenbos first explained to police why he beat his wife, Kathy, to death with a grinding tool, saying, “lost it.”
Shortly after Dorenbos was convicted for second-degree murder, a family spokesman made it clear that much more had been lost than just Dorenbos’ temper – and his wife’s life.
“The children have lost a father and mother,” Stephen Whitehead said, Kathy Dorenbos’ cousin. “This is really very difficult for everyone.”
The magician shares his amazing story in a book called Life Is Magic: My Inspiring Journey from Tragedy to Self-Discovery. Jon Dorenbos is also a father now, as his wife Annalise gave birth to a daughter earlier this year.
In 2017, Jon was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm and underwent open-heart surgery. He now works as a motivational speaker, and also appears on Ellen to give back to people. He recently helped reunite a military family.