BOSTON (AP) – The kidnapping suspect who calls himself Clark Rockefeller said his wife knew he wasn’t related to the famous and wealthy family with the same surname, but dropped the name whenever she saw a chance for professional and social advancement.

“She knew early on that I had virtually not much in common with the Rockefeller family,” the man, whom authorities have identified as Christian Gerhartsreiter, told NBC’s Today Show.

But Gerhartsreiter, said his ex-wife, Sandra Boss, “referred to me as having been descended from John D. Rockefeller and such whenever it was to her advantage.”

“She usually did so in an understated way – calling special attention to it by keeping it extra quiet,” he said. “Sort of, ‘Psst, she’s married to a Rockefeller.’ It’s like saying you went to Harvard. It opens doors.”

Attempts by NBC to contact Boss for a response were unsuccessful.

Though Gerhartsreiter accuses his ex-wife of taking advantage of a connection to a famous family she knew wasn’t legitimate, he doesn’t concede he’s not a Rockefeller.

“From what I’ve heard lately, it might not be, but as far as I know, it’s my name,” he said. “Perhaps at some point we can do a DNA test to really find out.”

When asked if he used the Rockefeller name to get ahead or curry favor, he said, “I always left that ambiguous.”

Gerhartsreiter is accused of kidnapping his daughter, Reigh Boss, off a Boston street during a supervised visit in late July. He was captured in early August in Baltimore, where police said he was hoping to start a new life with his daughter after losing custody of her to Boss. The arrest led authorities to delve into Gerhartsreiter’s past, much of which he says he doesn’t remember, but which authorities say is built on one lie after another.

“Gerhartsreiter is at the center of the longest con I’ve seen in my professional career,” said Suffolk County District attorney Daniel Conley in Boston last week, after officials identified Gerhartsreiter through fingerprints.

Authorites said Gerhartsreiter’s past includes numerous aliases and time renting the guesthouse of California couple that mysteriously disappeared in 1985. California authorities want to question Gerhartsreiter about their disappearance, but he has refused to speak with them. His attorney, Stephen Hrones, has said his client remembers the couple but had nothing to do with their disappearance.

Gerhartsreiter, 48, has been interviewed by Today, which has released excerpts of his remarks in advance of broadcast Monday and Tuesday. The Boston Globe plans to publish its interview with Gerhartsreiter for Sunday’s editions. Hrones declined requests by The Associated Press to be included in the interview.


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