Oprah Winfrey transformed herself into a pioneer, showing the entire world that everyone can connect with one another, regardless of race, religion, or sex.
Through The Oprah Winfrey Show, the beloved talk show host undertook thousands of emotional interviews with everyone from average Joes to presidents and Hollywood stars.
But she and her partner, Stedman Graham, decided not to get married or have children. Strange? Well, the subjects have been raised by more than a few people over the years …
Oprah Winfrey has pretty much done it all. Starting as a co-anchor and journalist at a TV station, she quickly rose to fame with The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired for 25 seasons.
The Academy Award-nominated talk show host, actress, writer, and speaker still to this day is active with several projects, and it seems that she’ll never quit in her pursuit to allow everyone – no matter who it is – to tell their story.
Oprah Winfrey’s had a life in the spotlight. But at the same time, she and longtime partner Stedman Graham never had children or married.
Now, she’s told the truth as to why.
Oprah Winfrey was born on Jan 29, 1943, in the rural town of Kosciusko, Mississippi. Her early years in the small farming community were unstable: she was raised by her grandmother, but eventually left to live with her mother.
Oprah’s life with her mother was troubled and at times terrible. She was sexually abused as a young girl, and there was more abuse to follow. By 14, she was pregnant and ended up moving to live with her father in Nashville.
”I was so ashamed. I hid the pregnancy until my swollen ankles and belly gave me away,” she revealed in her program Life Class.
According to Oprah, she managed to hide the pregnancy for seven months.
”I saved that baby because I was so disassociated and still do feel such a disassociation. I never felt like it was my baby,” Oprah said.
Tragically, Oprah gave birth to a premature son who died shortly after birth. According to People, Oprah also named the son.
“I did an interview with a reporter before I came to Australia and she said you should name the baby son who died,” Winfrey said according to People and continued:
“So I have named him, I had a little boy named Canaan,” Winfrey reportedly said, not specifying the spelling. “I did have a son. And I named him Canaan because Canaan means new land, new life.”
Plenty of people would probably be devastated by the trauma and ready to give up on life following such an event. It affected her for a long time, and in 1990, the emotional wound was cut open again – a family member sold the story of Oprah’s son to a gossip newspaper behind her back.
”Hiding that secret and carrying that shame blocked me in so many ways that I remember being taken to the detention home when my mother was going to put me out of the house at the age of 14,” she recalled and added:
“The experience was the most emotional, confusing, traumatic of my young life.”
Oprah, though, decided to channel her pain into something positive.
Oprah Winfrey – childhood abuse
Speaking to Readers Digest, Oprah even gave a sort of backhand credit to the people who abused her. The talk show host said that in some way they made her the woman that she is today.
“Being 14 was a very difficult time for me, it was rough. And had I had guidance at that age, my life might have been very different,” she said.
“But I do believe, from the lowest moments in your life, the deepest pits where you don’t understand it, every single moment of emotional destitution, where you couldn’t see a way out… I believe every moment is a building block and another step in your journey to being who you are meant to be, and who you are meant to become.”
The decision to move to Nashville with her father and stepmother would turn into the best decision Oprah ever made. At 17, she had turned into a young woman with confidence, and went on to win the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant.
The event was sponsored by a local radio station, and since she definitely had talent in the field, Oprah was hired. She started working part-time reading the news, which later led her to another gig.
She attended Tennessee State University on a full scholarship and majored in communications. However, since a job came up, she left before graduating. In 1986, Oprah returned to the university to turn in her final paper and graduate officially.
Oprah Winfrey packed her bags and moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she began co-anchoring the six o’clock headlines on WJZ-TV.
One might think that her career was straight to the top from there. But no, Oprah also had to deal with some turbulence in her career.
Incredibly, this now-media powerhouse was dropped from the co-anchor job and told to work at the news desk instead. There, she would meet someone who would become a vital figure for her future success.
Her mentor was an editor at work, yelling at her every night she was on the job.
“I used to go to work every day shaking with fear, saying ‘I know I’m going to be fired’”, Oprah Winfrey said.
“I wasn’t a great writer, I wasn’t fast enough. In the end I didn’t get fired, but I did get demoted to the talk show … which was seen as a big demotion in those days. And that’s where it all began. So, I thank him. He was inadvertently a guiding light!”
Oprah Winfrey got the opportunity to host the TV show People Are Talking, through which she gained a lot of friends. It was a huge hit, and meant that Oprah had taken her first steps towards stardom. Her empathy and courage – which became her trademark – were key. She stayed on the show for eight years.
She was then recruited to Chicago to do a morning talk show called AM Chicago. In 1986, however, the show was rebranded as The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Oprah came into a television industry that was flooded by white males. As a young black woman, she was a pioneer in the field, and her presence soon turned into what could be referred to as a revolution.
When she accepted the Cecil B. deMille Award – a Lifetime Achievement and prestigious award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment – at the Golden Globes in 2018, Oprah Winfrey talked on the concept of a talkshow being more than just a talkshow.
“In my career, what I’ve always tried my best to do – whether on television or through film – is say something about how men and women really behave,” Oprah said in her acceptance speech.
“It’s to say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome. I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at them, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights.”
The Oprah Winfrey show became a stalwart of TV, attracting millions of viewers. Oprah interviewed more than 37,000 people on her talkshow during the 25 years it aired. From average Joes with everyday problems to Michael Jackson and President Obama, someone from every walk of life has been on the show.
The Michael Jackson interview actually became one of the most-watched interviews in TV history, with more than 90 million people watching.
Filmed at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, it took place before any allegations were made about sexual abuse.
“It was the most exciting interview I had ever done,” Oprah said. “We are coming in the gates of Neverland, and it’s like a moment in The Wizard of Oz. “It was literally like going to see the wizard. We couldn’t believe it. I felt like a kid.”
Oprah signed a new contract to continue The Oprah Winfrey Show through the 2010-2011 season. At the time, the show could be seen on more than 200 US stations and in more than 100 countries worldwide.
Oprah Winfrey is a role model for millions of people and a wonderful TV host. We wish her all the best in the future and hope to see her in movies or as a talkshow host soon again.Please SHARE this with your friends and family.