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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 09:03 AM   #1
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Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

By DON BABWIN
The Associated Press
updated 1/24/2011 8:32:07 PM ET 2011-01-25T01:32:07
CHICAGO — Oprah Winfrey has discovered she has a half-sister — a Milwaukee woman who was given up for adoption by Winfrey's mother nearly 50 years ago, when the talk show host was eight years old.
An emotional Winfrey introduced her newly found sibling to viewers Monday and explained the woman's persistent quest to find her birth mother.
"This, my friends, is the miracle of all miracles," Winfrey said before bringing out the 48-year-old woman, who throughout the program was identified only as Patricia, with no mention of her occupation or any other details.
After years of searching for blood relatives, the woman met Winfrey on Thanksgiving Day of last year.

When Patricia was born in Milwaukee in 1963, the young Winfrey was living with her father and did not even know her mother was pregnant, she said.
Patricia, who Winfrey said bounced from foster home to foster home until she was adopted at age 7, had given up after previous searches for her mother. But she decided to resume looking several years ago at the insistence of her grown children.
The effort seemed to hit a dead end when a woman from the Wisconsin adoption agency called to respond to her inquiries.

"She was telling me that my birth mother had called her back, and she had made the decision at that particular time that she did not want to see me," Patricia said.
Coincidentally, on the local news that day was a story about Winfrey' mother, Vernita Lee, who revealed details about two of her children who had since died. Those details, Patricia said, matched information she had seen in papers about her own adoption.
Winfrey's mother also said that one of the deceased children had been named Patricia.
"The hairs on the back of my neck stood up," Patricia said. "Because I knew one of my siblings and I shared the same name."
Later, she found more matching details, including the fact that Winfrey was born in 1954, the same year as the woman Patricia knew was her surviving sibling.
Patricia found the daughter of Winfrey's dead sister in Milwaukee, and they took a DNA test that confirmed their relationship.
Lee, who recently suffered a minor stroke, said she never told Winfrey about her half-sister, "because I thought it was a terrible thing for me to do, that I had done, gave up my daughter when she was born."
Winfrey said documents from the girl's birth reveal that Lee gave up the baby for adoption because she did not think she could get off welfare if she kept the child.
"I made the decision to give her up because I wasn't able to take care of her," Lee said during a recorded interview that aired Monday. "So when I left the hospital, I told the nurse I wasn't going to keep the baby."
Winfrey said she was particularly stunned by the news because of the way it came out.
She said Patricia had known since 2007 that the two were related, but never attempted to profit off her discovery, even as she tried unsuccessfully to contact Winfrey, her mother or others in Winfrey's family.
Had Patricia sold her remarkable story to the tabloids, she would have likely received a healthy sum for the exclusive. A magazine cover story can earn as much as $75,000, and given that Patricia's half-sister turned out to be one of the largest figures in the entertainment world and one of the wealthiest women in the United States, her theoretical payday could have been even more.
"She never once thought to sell the story," Winfrey said, recalling how she felt betrayed by others who have sought to take advantage of their relationship with her.
She said Patricia had known since 2007 that the two were related, but never attempted to profit off her discovery or contact the press, even as she tried unsuccessfully to contact Winfrey, her mother or others in Winfrey's family.
"She never once thought to sell the story," Winfrey said, recalling how she felt betrayed by others who have sought to take advantage of their relationship with one of the largest figures in the entertainment world and one of the wealthiest women in the United States.
Winfrey, for example, recalled how her other sister revealed to the press years ago that Winfrey had had a baby when she was a teenager. The baby, Winfrey has said, died shortly after birth. And she talked about putting her sister in rehab twice for drug addiction, but that her sister ultimately died.

Patricia said she didn't consider revealing that she and Winfrey were half-sisters to anyone but Winfrey, explaining that she did not want to hurt Winfrey.
"Family business should be handled by family," Patricia said. "It couldn't be handled by anyone else. That's not fair. It wouldn't be fair to you."
Winfrey said she was heartened by learning that she had a half-sister, saying it "feels like closure" for the sister who died.
"It feels to me like you are Pat on her very best day," Winfrey told the woman. "You are what she wanted to be without the drugs."

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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 09:59 AM   #2
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Re: Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

I hope oprah sets her up in a house and a trust fund so she's not having to work two jobs.
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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 10:55 AM   #3
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Re: Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

i can hear a book deal on the way lol
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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 11:22 AM   #4
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Re: Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

IKR. What's the point of being Oprah's sister if you don't get any money out of it.
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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 11:53 AM   #5
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Re: Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

JN reveals his complete, total and absolute disinterest in all things Oprah by posting the following smiley: .
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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 11:54 AM   #6
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Re: Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

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i can hear a book deal on the way lol
this woman seems smarter than that. if she says nothing, oprah will give her a million dollars like she did for gail. and a house and all the hermes she can buy. but she sells oprah out she will get half a mill if that and not see another dime afterward.

i cant tell you what this woman will do but if this woman is SMART she will keep her mouth shut!
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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 01:29 PM   #7
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Re: Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

I saw it yesterday and walked away with the feeling that Oprah is embarrassed of her mother and that her mother refused to see the lost sister because she thought Oprah was going to cut her off if she caused any more problems.
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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 01:56 PM   #8
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Re: Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

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I saw it yesterday and walked away with the feeling that Oprah is embarrassed of her mother and that her mother refused to see the lost sister because she thought Oprah was going to cut her off if she caused any more problems.
Interesting because Oprah said that her mother's situation remind her of how she felt all of those years hiding the fact that she was a teenage mom. She also stated that because her sister sold her out she was finally able to let the guilt go and thought her mother was still holding on to the feelings and guilt that her mom felt for giving up her child.

I think Oprah's mom didn't want to see her daughter because of the shame of what she had done and if she met her she'd have to not only relive that history but would have to answer many questions that she really didn't want to deal with. I don't think her mom had the courage to face her demons and appears to me that Oprah understands that. Their mom will probably need to get help to overcome the guilt of what she did especially knowing the whole world knows what she did.

After all Oprah and her mom has been through I can't see Oprah cutting her mother off for something she did fifty years ago. At least I would hope that to be the case.
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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 02:01 PM   #9
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Re: Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

Well, I think all this was happening around the time when Vernita had accumulated large unpaid bills, which lead me to believe she didn't want to stir the pot any more so to speak by unleashing that bombshell.
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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 02:55 PM   #10
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Re: Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

This made for a very dramatic and entertaining hour of tv . Oprah is very lucky as Patricia seems to be a very nice and classy lady
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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 03:53 PM   #11
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Re: Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

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JN reveals his complete, total and absolute disinterest in all things Oprah by posting the following smiley: .
This....
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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 07:23 PM   #12
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Re: Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

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Interesting because Oprah said that her mother's situation remind her of how she felt all of those years hiding the fact that she was a teenage mom. She also stated that because her sister sold her out she was finally able to let the guilt go and thought her mother was still holding on to the feelings and guilt that her mom felt for giving up her child.

I think Oprah's mom didn't want to see her daughter because of the shame of what she had done and if she met her she'd have to not only relive that history but would have to answer many questions that she really didn't want to deal with. I don't think her mom had the courage to face her demons and appears to me that Oprah understands that. Their mom will probably need to get help to overcome the guilt of what she did especially knowing the whole world knows what she did.

After all Oprah and her mom has been through I can't see Oprah cutting her mother off for something she did fifty years ago. At least I would hope that to be the case.
I think you and Sally are both right. She didn't want to be cut off and she was ashamed. I mean it's clear from all the very expensive china and custom work in her mothers kitchen that oprahs mother has made off really well despite all her many, many, many, many short comings as a parent. Moon and I were saying what an amazing person patricia must be.
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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 08:17 PM   #13
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Re: Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

Did anyone hope that Oprah would end the show with 'And like me, everyone in the audience is getting a SISTEEEEEEERRRRRRRR! You get a sister (pointing to audience member), you get a sister (pointing to another audience member), you get a sister......'
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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 08:35 PM   #14
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Re: Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

The thread title should have been preceded by "BOMBSHELL: "
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Old Jan 25th, 2011, 08:38 PM   #15
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Re: Oprah reveals her secret: a half sister

Why would you be ashamed of giving a baby up for adoption that you can't afford?
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