Oprah, Oprah, Oprah. Can you make us love you more? Just like us, Oprah struggles with desires and ambitions and delicious foodstuffs. Just like us, Oprah has power and charisma. And just like us, Oprah has longheld deeply buried family secrets! Unlike us, however, Oprah has a TV show, upon which she revealed a whopper today: She has a half-sister named Patricia who had long been kept a secret by Oprah’s mother, who put her up for adoption at birth.
As for what we know of this Patricia, CNN reports that she spent time in foster care, became a single mother at 17, and started looking for her birth mother at 20. In 2007 she found out from the adoption agency that her birth mother didn’t want to meet her. That same day she saw an interview with Oprah’s mom, Vernita Lee, which connected some of the dots.
“We realized that Oprah could be my sister,” Patricia said.
Despite this bombshell, Patricia behaved like a highly respectable possible relative of Oprah, keeping the information quiet and away from the prying eyes of the media, members of whom would have killed for this, tracking down other family members, and doing a DNA test before eventually getting the news to Oprah. This endeared her to Winfrey, who was moved by the fact that Patricia “never once thought to sell this story.”
CNN points out,
Ironically, Winfrey also had another half-sister named Patricia who died in 2003. That sister was unable to overcome drug abuse and her resemblance to her new half-sister was noted often. Winfrey said she had placed that sister twice into rehab.
“For me, you are Pat on her very best day,” Winfrey said to her new half-sister. “You are who she wanted to be without the drugs.”
Unlike us, however, the revelation of this family secret has led to bonding, harmony, family unity, catharsis, and inevitably great TV ratings. Oprah has told their mother to “let that shame go.” She’s also released her own shame, and been granted healing over the rift with Patricia I. And Patricia II has her family back.
Oprah: Doing it better than the rest of us, always.