Photo Credit: ABC
Oprah Winfrey has, once again, set the record straight about her sexual orientation.
The media mogul sat down for an intimate chat with Barbara Walters for an upcoming special to talk about her friendship with Gayle King, her relationship with Stedman Graham and the rumors and speculation that surround both.
Through tears, Winfrey, 56, talked about King, 55. "She is ... the mother I never had," Winfrey said. "She is...the sister everybody would want. She is the friend that everybody deserves. I don't know a better person. I don't know a better person."
After asking for a tissue, Winfrey continued "It's making me cry because I'm thinking about ... how much ... I probably have never told her that," she said.
The conversation then moved to the topic of the gay rumors that have plagued Winfrey and King during their 30-year friendship.
"I'm not a lesbian...I'm not even kind of a lesbian," Winfrey said. "And the reason why it irritates me is because it means that somebody must think I'm lying. That's number one. Number two...why would I want to hide it? That is not the way I run my life."
Fans of Winfrey know she is a strong gay rights advocate and has recently, in response to the tragic trend of teen suicides, encouraged other public figures support the cause. It would be hard for any skeptic to believe that Winfrey wouldn't practice what she preached, especially with something this significant.
After clearing up the rumors, Walters and Winfrey moved the conversation to Graham, 59, whom Winfrey has been in a relationship with since 1986. "The love, the lover, the man, the partner, the mate," Winfrey said. "I do not know of another man on this planet...who could have lived this life with such dignity, with such grace and such respect and humility in it and still hold his own and be his own."
Winfrey went on to discuss why she and Graham rarely make appearances together. "Every time we showed up in public... there'd be another exploitative story," she said. "So I made a conscious effort around 2003, 2004, to pull back on my public appearances with Stedman."
The world's most powerful woman also talked about why she and Graham opted to never have children and how they had, in the past, considered adoption.
"For a while I thought, 'Well, maybe,' every time I went to Africa, and Stedman says this too," she explained. "Every time I went to Africa he didn't know when I got off the plane if I was going to have one or two or ten children."
Still, Winfrey has no regrets about choosing not to have a family of her own to build her empire. "I could not... have had this life and lived it with the level of intensity that is required to do this show the way it's done," Winfrey said. "I'd be one of those people that the kid's coming and saying, 'Mom, you've neglected me.' So I have no regrets about that. I have none...not one regret about not having children because I believe that it is the way it's supposed to be."
Watch the clip below to see a segment of the interview:
A Barbara Walters Special: Oprah, The Next Chapter, which airs Thursday, Dec. 9 at 9 p.m. on ABC, also features Winfrey's decision to end her landmark daytime television show to start her own network.
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