This is how Oprah Winfrey has changed, from surviving sexual abuse to absolute queen of television

During the last four decades, the name of Oprah Winfrey has been a constant in the media, not only in the United States, but also internationally. Many consider that Oprah was destined to be someone great since she dedicated herself to reciting verses from the Bible in her native Kosciusko (Mississippi, USA); but her reality hid a dark truth from which she could barely get out.

A powerful, recognized and influential woman who has made herself and who continues to set an example for the new generations.

Oprah Winfrey, in a file image.

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Winfrey is now a billionaire and known worldwide, but few know of her humble origins. The communicator was born into a very poor family. Her mother, Vernita Lee, got pregnant as a teenager, and then-little Oprah Gail had to go through hell.

As she herself recounted years later, she was the victim of sexual abuse by various relatives and friends of her mother. At the age of 14, Oprah became pregnant, but the child died prematurely. An event that caused her to go to Nashville (Tennessee) to live with the man she calls her father, Vernon Winfrey, a barber later turned businessman.

Oprah, being a girl.

Oprah, being a girl.


If I hadn’t left Milwaukee, I’d be dead at 56. I would have died knowing things could have been different.

An adolescence that changed Oprah’s life forever, who got her first job in radio while she was still finishing her high school studies. He liked her so much and showed such talent that by the age of 19 she had already become a co-anchor on the local channel’s evening news while she was studying at university.

In 1976, Oprah moved to Baltimore, where her talents didn’t go unnoticed either. A charisma of hers and a presence of hers that led her to present a current affairs program on local television, which she managed to take to number one. A triumph of hers that led her to launch her own production company and program The Oprah Winfrey Showsomething risky for a woman, black and with almost no resources at that time.

Oprah Winfrey, host of THE 17TH ANNUAL DAYTIME EMMY AWARDS, 1990,

Oprah Winfrey has won more than twenty Emmy Awards.


However, he managed to find the formula for success, kicking off a new way of doing television in which literature, women’s empowerment, well-being, spirituality and self-help were discussed in the same program. It amassed an audience of approximately 10 million people and managed to gross $120 million in ads by the end of its first year, something never seen before.

A true hurricane that took the television of the time by surprise, but managed to turn Oprah into a true reference in the media; Her personal style, open and kind-hearted, conquered the audience, and her success led her to become one of the most powerful women in the country. A success that, moreover, led him to try his luck in other fields, such as cinema or literature, with more than remarkable success and the ability to launch many authors to stardom at that unknown time; In addition to creating another publishing empire with her magazine O, The Oprah Magazinewhich was listed as the most successful magazine in the American publishing industry.

Spielberg cast Oprah for ‘The Color Purple’ (1985), for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress

THE COLOR PURPLE, Oprah Winfrey, 1985.

Oprah as Sofia in ‘The Color Purple’ (1985).


A success that, of course, also came loaded with criticism. Many of her detractors accuse her of having caused a revolution with somewhat controversial ideas about the value of self-help or using emotions to manage according to what things in life. Others, for their part, applaud her ability to have managed to overcome adversity.

More than a decade after the end of her eponymous show, Oprah continues to create school and share the lessons she has learned throughout her life. The communicator travels around the world participating in various campaigns, but also continues to carry out some of the most anticipated and controversial interviews of the moment, such as the one she managed to do with Lance Armstrong, Sarah Ferguson, Naomi Campbell, Barack Obama or, more recently, the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Oprah interviews Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

Oprah interviews Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.


A career full of successes, including nearly twenty Daytime Emmys, two Primetime Emmys, a Tony, the Peabody Award, two Oscar nominations, and being elected to the Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2021. A life for which she will always be remembered as perhaps the most influential woman in the entire history of the United States, leading experts to coin the term “The Oprah Effect” to try to explain the magnitude of her power as a communicator. Winfrey was at the forefront of the media industry and emerged as one of the richest and most powerful people in show business in the world.

Currently, the communicator has her own television channel, Oprah Winfrey Network, a company she created in conjunction with Discovery Communications; and dedicates his time to philanthropic works from Oprah’s Angel Network, a foundation he created in 2000, and which has raised more than millions of dollars for charities, such as the education of girls in South Africa and aid for victims of natural disasters. .

A very discreet private life

The communicator has always been the object of envy after having become a millionaire at just 32 years old, after a life of poverty and hardship, after her current affairs program became part of the national television union and she negotiated property rights Of content. Since then, she has amassed such a fortune that she became the richest African-American person of the 20th century (besides the first woman). Currently, it is estimated that her fortune amounts to 2,500 million dollars.

Oprah has always been very reserved with her private life, and although some of her past relationships are known, the communicator has always been very vocal about her decisions regarding her personal life.

Stedman Graham and Presenter Oprah Winfrey during the 87th Oscars The Annual Academy Awards in Los Angeles on February 22, 2015.

Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham at the 2015 Oscars.


After several failed attempts at a relationship, among which the journalists John Tesh and Lloyd Kramer stood out; She met in 1986 the man who would be the man in his life, Stedman Graham, with whom he has maintained a relationship ever since and with whom he became engaged in 1992, although they have never celebrated their marriage.

This is how Oprah Winfrey has changed, from surviving sexual abuse to absolute queen of television