What a Party!
02/05/2004 AT 10:26 AM EST
Not even close. The Jan. 31 bash – "better than a White House state dinner," says Winfrey's long-time love, Stedman Graham – capped a five-day birthday extravaganza. "It literally took my breath away," Winfrey tells PEOPLE of the main party, which was held at the estate of friends and neighbors Bob and Marlene Veloz, from whom she purchased her Montecito spread for an estimated $50 million in '01. "I felt like a princess at the ball." (Highlights will air on Oprah Feb. 6.) Adds her best friend, Gayle King: "It was one jaw-dropping moment after another."
And so it went throughout the moveable festivities, which kicked off Jan. 28 at Chicago's Metropolitan Club, where Graham, 52, hosted a dinner for 75 Winfrey intimates, including her father, Vernon, 71, and mother, Vernita Lee, 68. "It was a very personal, this-is-your-life-Oprah party," Graham says of the evening. At one point Vernon gave a toast in which he recalled his daughter's first public speaking gig, a church reading of the poem "Invictus," at age 9. As he told the assembled guests, "A lot of the older folks said, 'Oh, brother Winfrey – she's going places!' "