With a media career that’s spanned decades, Oprah Winfrey’s name has often been in the headlines. From tabloids to women’s magazines to national newspapers, Winfrey easily draws the attention of the public.
Even though she’s front and center in the news, America’s favorite talk show host still has some secrets of which many people aren’t aware.
1. Her name was misspelled on the birth certificate
Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Mississippi on January 29, 1954. Her given name is Oprah Gail Winfrey. Rumor has it that Winfrey’s first name was supposed to be Orpah, a name mentioned in the Bible, however, a misspelling on the birth certificate led to the name Oprah.
2. She is a true representative of the Aquarius
Winfrey was born under the astrological sign of Aquarius. Aquarians are known for their interest in social change and for their desire to create a better life for themselves and others. They also tend to be logical, uncompromising and idealistic, all qualities that Winfrey possesses.
3. She is the only African-American billionaire in the USA
Winfrey grew up in poverty as a child, a huge contrast to the opulent life she leads today. As of September 2013, Forbes magazine estimates Winfrey’s net worth at $2.9 billion. Winfrey is the only African-American billionaire in the United States.
4. She invested $40 million for an educational institution
Winfrey sank an estimated $40 million into founding an educational institution for girls located outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. Named the “Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls”, the school focuses on providing schooling for academically gifted girls who wouldn’t otherwise have access to this type of education.
5. She dropped out of college
Winfrey attended college at Tennessee State University where she studied speech communications and performing arts. Her education was paid for with a scholarship. Unfortunately, Winfrey quit college before she graduated to accept a job in Baltimore, Maryland from which she was later fired.
6. The tell-all book about her is unauthorized
Winfrey was the focus of a tell-all book published by journalist Kitty Kelley in 2010. The unauthorized biography, “Oprah: A Biography”, painted a picture of Winfrey that differs from what’s been presented publicly and whose factualness has been dismissed by Winfrey.
7. Her support behind Obama was impressive
Winfrey threw her impressive support behind Barack Obama when he ran for President of the United States in 2008. It’s estimated that her backing garnered the President approximately one million votes that he might not have otherwise won.
8. Her best friend is Gayle King
Winfrey is best friends with television anchor, Gayle King, and has been since 1976. King currently co-hosts the CBS “This Morning with Charlie Rose and Norah O’Donnell.” Throughout the years, rumors that Winfrey and King are lesbians have plagued the two, but have been firmly denied.
9. She’s been engaged since 1992
Winfrey has been romantically involved with businessman Stedman Graham since 1976. While the two are a longtime couple, they’ve never married due to Winfrey’s desire to remain single even though they became engaged in 1992.
10. She speaks openly about having been sexually abused
Over the years, Winfrey has opened her life to her audience by confessing that she was sexually abused, informing them about her struggles with her weight and including them in her tragedies and triumphs involving weight losses and gains.
11. She participated in the “Miss Black America” pageant
Winfrey was crowned “Miss Black Tennessee” in 1972 after winning that pageant when she was just 17 years old. She progressed to compete in the “Miss Black America” pageant as a result of that win.