Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey: I Was 'Devastated' by Relative's Betrayal

01/20/2007 at 01:20 PM EST

Oprah Winfrey: I Was 'Devastated' by Relative's Betrayal
Oprah Winfrey
BILL DAVILA/startraks
Oprah Winfrey was shattered when a relative revealed in 1990 that she'd had a baby at 14, she says in the new issue of her magazine.

The February issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, has the theme, "My first" – and Winfrey writes about her first betrayal: A family member's revelation to the National Enquirer that Winfrey gave birth as a teen to a baby who died in the hospital weeks later.

Winfrey writes that the relative, whom she doesn't name but whom the Associated Press identifies as her half-sister, Patricia Lloyd, "sat in a room, told them the story of my hidden shame and left their offices $19,000 richer."

When she found out, Winfrey writes, according to the New York Post, "I took to my bed and cried for three days. I felt devastated. Wounded. Betrayed. How could this person do this to me?"

Before the article came out, she says, "Only my family and closest friends knew. I would tell no one until I felt safe enough to share my dark past: the years I was sexually abused, from age 10 to 14, my resulting promiscuity as a teenager, and finally, at 14, my becoming pregnant."

She worried that if anyone found out about the pregnancy, it would damage her career: "I imagined that every person on the street was going to point their finger at me and scream, 'Pregnant at 14, you wicked girl ... expelled!' "

But in fact, she says, "No one said a word ... not strangers, not even people I knew. I was shocked. Nobody treated me differently. For 20 years, I had been expecting a reaction that never came.

"And I soon realized that having the secret out was liberating. ... What I learned for sure was that holding the shame was the greatest burden of all."

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine


From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners

Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters