Celebrity medium Tyler Henry made a career out of helping people connect with their family members — specifically, the ones who have passed on.
As the host of “Hollywood Medium With Tyler Henry” on E!, Henry, 26, lent his purported clairvoyant insight to stars like Khloé Kardashian, Rebel Wilson, and more. During an appearance on TODAY in 2016, Henry also successfully predicted Jenna Bush Hager would have a third child.
On the Netflix show “Life After Death With Tyler Henry,” which premiered earlier this year, Henry got personal about his own family history.
"Life After Death" alternates between Henry's work with clients and segments that feature Tyler and his mother, Theresa Koelewyn, whom he describes as his “best friend” on the show, uncovering a true crime story in their past.
Three years ago, in 2019, Koelewyn discovered life-changing information about her family thanks to an at-home DNA test.
She learned Stella Guirdy Nestle, the woman who raised Koelewyn, was not her biological mother.
Koelewyn, speaking to TODAY All Day during her first joint interview with Henry since the Netflix show premiered in March, said the revelation was “bittersweet:” Nestle was a convicted murderer, per the Fowler Ensign’s reporting obtained via Newspapers.com.
“I still just can’t come to terms with that part. I mean, it’s one thing to murder someone, but to torture them...” Koelewyn said on TODAY.
Nestle was granted parole in 2009, per Prison Legal News.
Ultimately, Koelewyn said finding out Nestle was not her biological mom came as a relief: “It made me happy that Tyler doesn’t have a grandmother who’s a murderer,” she said.
Ironically, Henry told TODAY his powers of insight weren’t helpful when it came to understanding his mom’s past — according to Henry, he was too close to the situation.
“My process has to not be impeded by logic or information,” Henry said. “Because it’s me, because I have my own feelings and thoughts and expectations, that bias basically prevents me from being able to kind of connect intuitively.”
Henry said not being able to help his mother in the way that he has helped so many other people was difficult.
“It felt like the tables kind of turned in a sense that I found myself in a vulnerable position in a pursuit for answers,” he said. “So I felt myself really feeling a sense of desperation and I think it taught me and gave me an insight into closure. It’s not really something you achieve, as much as it’s something that you have to kind of grow through and find acceptance around.”
For Koelewyn, finding acceptance has also been a journey, especially when it comes to redefining her idea of family. The show goes into her close relationship with the people who grew up as her siblings.
“The bittersweet part of that is that while it means that she’s not my biological mother, it also means that my siblings that I love so much are not my biological siblings, but it doesn’t matter because we’re always going to be close,” she continued.
Koelewyn said meeting her biological family in Louisiana reminded her of what she was robbed of, but also what she can enjoy now.
“My feelings when I met with my biological family were actually bittersweet as well, because while I loved them and adored them immediately, they’re just wonderful, wonderful people. I also felt a loss because I felt like well, what if I had been able to be raised with them,” she questioned.
Henry said this journey has prompted them to lean into asking tough questions about their family history.
“I think one of the important things we learned in this is really just the intergenerational effects of trauma,” he said. “We learned in this journey the importance of asking questions. If there are blind spots, follow up. There are entire generations of silence and it’s important to break that silence and the truth really can set you free.”