The talk show host told viewers that a Milwaukee woman named Patricia had found out that the two were related.
After years of searching for the identity of the mother who gave her up for adoption in the 1960s, Patricia learned in 2007 that Oprah was her half-sister. On The Oprah Winfrey Show the presenter revealed she learned about Patricia last November and met her on Thanksgiving day.
An emotional Oprah described the discovery as “the miracle of all miracles” and said one of the most impressive things was that her half-sister never tried to profit from her.
“She never once thought to sell the story,” Oprah said, describing how she felt betrayed by other relatives who sought publicity or money.
“Family business should be handled by family,” Patricia said on the show. “It couldn’t be handled by anyone else. That’s not fair. It wouldn’t be fair to you.”
Oprah – who is ending the successful chat show at the end of the season after 25 years at the helm – had previously told viewers that she would have a reunion of her own on the show. She wouldn’t say with whom – only that it involved something she had learned about recently and was known to just a few people close to her.
Oprah said she was nine-years-old and living with her father when her mother had the daughter and gave her up for adoption. The host never even knew her mother was pregnant.
She was born to unmarried teenagers, Vernon Winfrey and Vernita Lee, and raised at various times by a grandmother, her mother, and her father and stepmother in Mississippi, Wisconsin and Tennessee, according to the star and various biographies.
However, Kitty Kelley’s unauthorised 2010 biography alleges that Vernon Winfrey isn’t Oprah’s biological father. Kelley also claims that she discovered the actual father’s identity but was keeping it secret until Oprah learns the truth herself.