Oprah Winfrey is a media mogul, actress, philanthropist, television host, and producer. In 2018, she won the Cecil B. DeMille award at the Golden Globes and gave a speech that became a big deal. For most people, it was another indicator of how far Oprah has come from a not-rosy childhood to being one of the most influential and richest black women in the world.
The Oprah name changed the narrative for black women in today’s America and the world at large, as she has lived a life filled with intriguing dynamics. The business mogul is one of the influential women whose personal life is not as loud as their career. It would interest you to know that Oprah is comfortable with being unmarried, but there’s more to this as you’ll soon learn.
Basic Biographical Facts and The Things Oprah Winfrey Is Known for
Oprah Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi. She grew up in a harsh environment of poverty and abuse; she was abused sexually by male relatives and some friends of her mother. By 1976, she had moved to Baltimore to host a hit television chat show. Before that, however, she attended Tennesse State University and her grades were exemplary.
After her stint in Baltimore, Oprah was recruited by a Chicago TV station to host a morning show. With the nationwide fame garnered from the success of the show, Oprah Winfrey had a role in Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film The Color Purple. She was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
It was after this that The Oprah Winfrey Show would come to life and go on to air for 25 seasons from 1986 to 2011. It drew in an audience of 10 million viewers around the world and was aired on 120 channels. Oprah Winfrey soon gained ownership of the show from ABC and it came under the direction of her new production company, Harpo Productions. After the show rounded up, Oprah launched her TV network, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
Oprah Winfrey had other projects with Harpo including the highly-rated 1989 TV miniseries, The Women of Brewster Place, which she also starred in. In 1999, she co-founded Oxygen Media, a company dedicated to producing cable and Internet programming for women. Her Oprah’s Book Club launched during an episode of her talk show is dedicated to promoting unknown authors and expose them to the world. Her Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls established in South Africa is dedicated to less fortunate girls.
The Truth About Her Relationship Status
As hinted earlier, Oprah Winfrey is not married and has never been married. You need not over-think this; she is very much comfortable with it. Nevertheless, the TV tycoon does have a longtime partner, Stedman Graham. The couple has been together for over 30 years now but no plans for marriage seem to be on the horizon.
Many find this difficult to fathom but Oprah and Graham have no problems with it. To put an end to the unrestrained anxiety among her fans and the public about her relationship, Oprah has several times explained the reason for her choice of status.
Not many know this but Stedman Graham had proposed to Oprah in 1993 after they had dated for a while. But the talk show host turned him down for a lot of reasons. According to her, she had so many doubts after he proposed and was scared of formalizing their relationship. This was also the time she was caught up with several work engagements; the last thing she needed was for marriage to distract her.
Graham was ready to wait till she was ready and this wait has turned out to be the best decision they both made. They eventually agreed not to get married but stay true to each other and this has worked out perfectly for them. The couple admits that they would have probably broken up if they had gotten married.
She Had a Child Named Canaan
Apart from deciding not to get married, Oprah Winfrey also chose not to have kids. Her career was most important and would not be compromised for anything; that was why Oprah chose not to be a mother and Stedman Graham was okay with it.
Oprah had her reasons; being a talk show host she had watched people talk about how messed up their lives were due to bad parenting, she had known the consequences of neglect by parents on their children and considering the nature of her job, did not want to go into parenting.
Moreso, Oprah Winfrey was a victim of sexual abuse at a very young age and did not want the same experience for anyone. Not many know this but as a child, the talk show host suffered abuse from relatives. Many occasions of abuse led to her becoming pregnant at the age of 14. She had birthed the child, a boy named Canaan, but he died a few weeks after birth.
Its been over thirty years and Oprah and Stedman have continued to wax strong. Their secret according to Oprah, was the fact that while loving each other, they understood each other’s goals and ambitions and respected that.
Oprah Winfrey’s Net Worth and The High Points of Her Career
Oprah Winfrey has made a fortune from her many years in showbiz. She has been named several times among the richest people in the world. In Forbes billionaires’ list of 2015, Oprah ranked at number 803, and though that might seem too far from the top, it is believed that she is the richest black woman in America. She might as well be the richest black woman in the world. Oprah Winfrey’s net worth is estimated at $3 billion.
The high ratings for the Oprah Winfrey show were mostly due to her choice of discussion topics which included spirituality, humanitarian issues, and health. She also included interviews with high profile individuals, celebrities, and even ordinary people. The show which ran until May 25, 2011, is to date the highest-rated show in the history of America TV. Oprah is still active in the TV business; her other reality shows include Oprah’s Master Class, Oprah’s Lifeclass, Super Soul Sunday, Oprah Prime, and Oprah: Where Are They Now?
Oprah’s establishment of the production company, Harpo, which is the reverse of her name, added immensely to her fortune. Harpo helped to establish and promote some of the well-known TV personalities like Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, and Rachael Ray. The production company has produced films like Beloved (1998) and Selma (2014). The company also helped to launch Broadway shows and her satellite radio channel.
At the start of 2011, Oprah launched her new network, the Oprah Winfrey Network. The channel did not thrive as expected in its early years. Nonetheless, its rating and earnings picked up after she partnered with renowned director/producer, Tyler Perry. The network produced popular TV series, The Haves and Haves Not, whose viewers amount to millions worldwide. OWN has dealership with Comcast and boasts over 83 million subscribers.
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@tylerperry you built the biggest studio in America, one that can fit all the other Hollywood studios combined and still have room to spare. You’ve also created a dream of hope and possibility for everyone to know that no matter who you are or where you come from, you can always do better when you’re aligned with the Divine. Thank you for the naming of the soundstages. I love mine. #GloryToGlory #ImagineThis
In addition to the reality shows and her production company, Oprah launched a career as an actress. She made her debut acting role in Steven Spielberg‘s The Color Purple as Sofia. Her other popular movies include The Butler (2013), and Selma (2014).
Although her Harpo Production and OWN are the major contributors to her wealth, Oprah also banks as a shareholder in top companies, one of such is Weight Watchers for which she is also an adviser. Oprah reportedly made $12 million via a single tweet she made promoting the company. She owns a number of enviable real estate properties. Her primary residence is The Promise Land, Montecito, California, a 42-acre abode ranked among the most expensive houses in the world. She owns a $14 million ski estate in Telluride, Colorado, estates in Florida, Antigua, Hawaii, and an apartment in Chicago.
Oprah has donated over half a billion of her wealth to charity.