Justin Goldberg seemingly has it all. A successful career in entertainment as an executive, author, and speaker; a loving family; and respect from his peers for his creative and entrepreneurial abilities.
The one thing he doesn’t have is a brother. But thanks to a recent discovery of a long-buried secret, he now believes he may have a long-lost male twin, possibly living in the Los Angeles area. If Goldberg’s hunch is true, the sibling was ripped away from him as an infant thanks to a bizarre experimental study concocted by his adoption agency and a noted psychologist.
Goldberg has had a long career in show business, having held senior executive positions at Sony Music, Red Light Management, and Razor & Tie Entertainment while working as a producer, writer and music supervisor on such projects as Disney’s Tangled and the animated TV special Prep & Landing: Naughty vs. Nice. He is generally credited with discovering musicians Martin Sexton and Grace Potter.
The 51-year-old executive recently was awakened to the possibility of his twin’s existence thanks to a chance meeting at Los Angeles’s Farmers Market between his teenage daughter and the alleged twin. His daughter saw the doppelganger, and was so stunned at the resemblance to her father that she was afraid to directly approach. Instead, she surreptitiously filmed him, and later showed her father the footage.
Seeing the mobile phone video reawakened feelings Goldberg had been burying all his life. He knew he was adopted from an early age, and was never bothered by that. But he always found himself looking at faces in the crowd, trying to connect with someone out there for reasons he couldn’t quite explain. When he saw the film, it triggered him to begin exploring his past in depth.
What he found was chilling. The Louise Wise Agency, the New York adoption service that matched him to his family, actually had a dark secret — they were part of a psychological experiment to separate twins and study their life paths to see whether nature or nurture was the biggest influence. Dr. Peter Neubauer, a noted psychologist, worked at Bellevue Hospital and convinced the agency that the study was important. Since no laws governed such splitting of twins at the time (they have since been changed), there was nothing barring the action.
The Wise Agency experiments were detailed in the book Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited (Random House). It’s the story of two women who accidentally meet and discover their kinship and connection to the Louise Wise Agency’s role in their separation. In the book, they confront the doctor, who insists he did nothing wrong. The study itself is sealed and allegedly housed at Yale University.
When Goldberg began his investigation of having a twin, his search led him back to Louise Wise, where he discovered the book. He also uncovered an unsettling fact: there were 13 sets of twins used in the long-term study of separated lives. All of them had eventually met each other by chance — except for two sets of twins that had never been aware of each other’s existence or met.
Goldberg recently released a video of his plans to begin searching for his twin brother and posted it to Facebook and his own website in hopes of uncovering leads.
He realizes that some may regard his quest as a bit crazy, a conspiracy theory based more in wishful hopes than fact. But Goldberg is relying on his instincts.
“I never thought I was a twin, but there’s something about this story that seems too strange to be discarded,” he says. “There’s a part of me that’s pretty confident, and I wanted to take people along on the ride with me to figure it out.”
What will he say when he finally meets the man who is potentially his twin brother? Goldberg hesitated on the actual words, settling on describing some fact-finding. “I find myself not typically in step with everyone around me,” he says. “I would be interested to see if he travels by skateboard and motorcycle, if he has a hard time keeping focus on one thing. I’d be interested to see his vocation.”
And what would he say to the doctor behind the alleged separation? That will forever be a mystery, because Neubauer died in 2008. “I had a wonderful family, but they were very different from me,” Goldberg says. “I never had someone who had my back. That’s the kind of sadness I want to communicate. It’s absurd someone would play God in that way. I think that is what I would say to him.”