TV personality and public figure Marcus Lemonis just made a heart-stirring visit to the Lebanese orphanage that had sheltered the earliest months of his life.
In his first trip to his home country, the multi-million dollar businessman filmed a special episode of his CNBC show where he explored his roots in Beirut.
The episode will feature a contemplative Marcus growing emotional and shedding some powerful tears at the foot of the crib he had slept in.
Upon viewing his birth certificate, the 45-year-old broke down, prompting Sister Yvonne, the 84-year-old nurse who runs the orphanage, to comfort him.
Contemplating a whole life he never knew he could have led, Marcus says, “For a brief moment, I felt like I was living two lives. I felt like, ‘Is the life I’m living today a fraud, and that’s my real life? Or is that who I was and this is who I am?'”
During the visit, Lemonis also learned his first name and the names of his birth parents. “The name I’ve been telling people is my name is not even really my name,” the visibly shaken man said.
Lemonis was born in Beirut in 1973 to Lebanese parents he knows little about. At the time, the country was at the brinks of a decade-long civil war that would leave many children stranded, and even orphaned.
He spent the first nine months of his life in an orphanage, before getting adopted by a Greek-Lebanese couple who flew the infant to the US for a life in Miami.
In the U.S., Lemonis made a name for himself, revitalizing the American RV Business and teaming up with NASCAR after a brief dabbles in politics. In 2014, Marcus, now worth $900 million, starred in the The Profit, a CNBC reality show about saving small businesses.
The Profit is a popular American documentary-style show that broadcasts on CNBC. In each episode, Marcus Lemonis offers a capital investment and his expertise to struggling small businesses in exchange for an ownership stake in the company. The successful reality TV show has already aired 6 seasons, or 69 episodes, in 7 different countries.
The latest hour-and-a-half special featuring Marcus’s visit to Lebanon was titled “The Profit: My Roots” and aired on Tuesday, April 9th, 2019.
A significant part of the 90 minutes is spent with Marcus meeting people who run businesses in Lebanon. Their stories are inseparable from the war that consumed the country in the 1970s and 1980s.
Among many other visits, Marcus “learns the secrets of soft skin” from Khan el Saboon, the Tripoli-based soap maker whose family has been in the business for hundreds of years.
He also meets one of Lebanon’s first craft beer makers, Jamil Haddad, who runs his business Colonel Brewery from Batroun, and has recently launched the first 100% produced Lebanese Vodka.
Lemonis had refrained from returning to Beirut and looking for his birth parents at the request of his adoptive mother, Sophia. After her death in 2013, however, Marcus was overcome with the need to learn more about his past life and heritage.
“I’ve always had a dying curiosity: ‘What part of that culture, or heritage -if any- influenced the way I think?’ I’m dying to know,” said Lemony.
Lemonis is still in Lebanon, currently flooding his Instagram feed with posts and stories of his joyous interactions with the rich culture he feels he missed on.