Louis Armstrong's Daughter? Woman Speaks Out

"I chose to tell my story now because it's about my legacy," Sharon Preston-Folt says.

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Sharon Preston-Folta (Phillippe Diederich/The New York Times)

Sharon Preston-Folt, 57, says that she's known for some time that the late Louis Armstrong was her father -- and was even financially supported by him -- but has finally decided to break her silence about her family's longtime secret. Beyond breaking the silence, she's selling letters that she says reveal Armstrong's relationship with her mother, and has even penned a short memoir.

Why now? "I chose to tell my story now because it's about my legacy," Preston-Folt said. "I matter. My story is important. I have every right to say who I am, to be proud of it."

The New York Times story says she "bears a striking resemblance" to Armstrong. True?

The woman, Sharon Preston-Folta, 57, of Sarasota, Fla., said she decided to break her long silence about what she calls "my parents' secret" because she was upset that Armstrong's estate never recognized her existence. His will left her family nothing, and his last wife, the former Lucille Wilson, signed an affidavit to the court stating that he had no children. Besides selling the letters, estimated to be worth as much as $80,000, she is releasing a short memoir on Kindle, written with Denene Millner.

"I chose to tell my story now because it's about my legacy," Ms. Preston-Folta said. "I matter. My story is important. I have every right to say who I am, to be proud of it."

Ms. Preston-Folta, a media planner for a department-store chain who is married and has a grown son, bears a striking resemblance to Armstrong, but has no medical evidence to support her claims -- just the letters and a sworn affidavit from her mother, who is 91 and declined to be interviewed.

Scholars have known for more than a decade that Armstrong had claimed to have fathered a child in the mid-1950s with Lucille Preston (who was known as Sweets), a dancer he was seeing romantically.

Read more at the New York Times.

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