Kelly Maria Ripa was born in Stratford, New Jersey, the daughter of Esther, a homemaker, and Joseph Ripa, a labor union president and bus driver. She has a sister, Linda, who is a children's book author. She is three-quarters Italian and one-quarter Irish ancestry. Ripa was raised Roman Catholic. Her father has been the Democratic County Clerk for Camden County, New Jersey, since June 2009. She is the first in her family to enter the acting profession. She has studied ballet since age three, plays the piano, and in her words is "no Barbra Streisand" but can carry a tune.