Leighton Meester by Shawn Ehlers/ WireImage.com
Nearly a month after news surfaced that she was born in prison,
is breaking her silence on her family's past.
"It makes me very nonjudgmental and open-minded," Meester told
. "And I think it just makes me appreciate the things that I have now."
The actress' parents, Connie and Doug, were involved in a drug ring that smuggled 1,200-pound shipments of marijuana from Jamaica into the United States,
reported. Both of them served time for the operation, and it was during the beginning of Connie's sentence that she gave birth to Leighton in a Texas federal prison in 1986.
Connie - who was sentenced to 10 years, but was released after 16 months - now works as a screenwriter. Doug, who split from her in 1992, is in construction.
Though her parents' past is "questionable," as Doug puts it, the
's relationship with them is anything but, especially with Connie.
"She's always there for me no matter what," Meester said. "I swear, that woman knows everything."
As for her daughter, Connie calls the 22-year-old, "very gifted," "very talented" and "very intelligent."
"I love her dearly," she said. -