Tom Hanks’ niece discusses her uncle’s passionate ‘Claim to Fame’ outburst: ‘I can’t say I’m sorry.’

It was a much simpler puzzle to solve than “The Da Vinci Code.” On Monday’s Season 2 debut of ABC’s “Claim to Fame,” contestants quickly identified Tom Hanks as housemate Carly Reeves’ celebrity relative. Reeves, Hanks’ niece by marriage and the daughter of Rita Wilson’s sister, was completely taken aback by the exclusion.

Wilson and Hanks have been married since 1988, but because of his celebrity, producers and ABC executives recommended Reeves identify Hanks as her relative. “I was completely in a fog,” Reeves, 39, says USA TODAY. “I can’t even remember…” Tom’s photo appears. My eyes were dripping with tears. I was sobbing so hard that I couldn’t even breathe. I was just a little hyperventilating because I was astonished.”

“Claim to Fame,” hosted by brothers Kevin and Frankie Jonas, brings together a dozen celebrity cousins in a mansion loaded with hints about their famous ancestor. The participant who can keep their identity hidden for the entire season receives $100,000. The obvious clues about her celebrity cousin on the clue wall irritated Reeves:

a park bench and ping pong paddle recalling Hanks’ Oscar-winning 1994 picture “Forrest Gump.” After her housemate Hugo accurately discovered her Hollywood connection and eliminated her from the game, she vented her rage in an intense speech. Hugo would have been removed instead if he had been wrong.

“His freakin’ clues are so freakin’ obvious,” screams Reeves in the premiere. “There is literally no mention of benches in any other film.” Gabriel (her fellow contender) discovered this as well. He’s not even intelligent. “I didn’t even get a chance to do any challenges!” Reeves goes on. “I didn’t deserve it!” I should spend more time in front of the camera! I should stay longer!” Reeves discusses why she was upset, whether she has any regrets, and interesting facts about her renowned uncle. (This version has been edited for length and clarity.)


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