Amazing & Wacky Things, Celebrities & Upcoming Stars

Oprah’s Family Secret

January 24, 2011
Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey has teased that she would reveal a shocking secret on her show today. “I thought I’d seen it all,” she says in a promo released Friday. “But this, my friends, is the miracle of all miracles.” She continued: “I was given some news that literally shook me to my core. This time, I’m the one being reunited. I was keeping a family secret for months, and you’re going to hear it straight from me.”

Oprah Winfrey

“I don’t have the least idea of what she has in mind,” Vernon Winfrey, her father, said Sunday from Tennessee.

Winfrey has not commented publicly about Kelley’s 2010 biography, which includes the allegation that Vernon Winfrey isn’t her biological father.

“There has been speculation in the past,” points out In Touch Weekly Senior Editor Amy Palmer, “that Vernon Winfrey is not her actual biological father, so this is something people are saying it could be.”

Winfrey, 57, and various biographies say she was born to unmarried teenagers Vernon Winfrey and Vernita Lee, and raised at different times by a grandmother, her mother, and her father and stepmother in Mississippi, Wisconsin and Tennessee. Two Winfrey siblings, a brother and sister, both have died.

Winfrey has shared painful and private elements of her life before, willingly or not. Her revelation that she had given birth as a teenager to a son who died shortly afterward came after a relative sold the story to a tabloid in 1990. Winfrey has also shared some of her most intimate secrets, ranging from her childhood molestation to drug abuse.

Winfrey even revealed she considered suicide after learning of an unwanted teen pregnancy, telling Piers Morgan, “I was 14 years old and … I thought, before the baby was born, ‘I’m gonna have to kill myself.” ‘

After years of reuniting loved ones, Winfrey is promising viewers the most anticipated one in her show’s 25 year history — and it’s her own, saying, “This time I’m the one being reunited.”

A clip in the promo, presumably taken from the taped episode, shows the back of a shadowy figure walking onstage.

So…what is Oprah’s family secret?

The big “family secret” that Oprah Winfrey has been promising to reveal Monday is the host’s heretofore unknown half sister, according to Kitty Kelley, author of 2010’s unauthorized Oprah: A Biography.

Biographer Kitty Kelley with Vernon Winfrey at the latter's barbershop in East Nashville

Kelley has told Time Out Chicago blogger Robert Feder that Winfrey will be reunited on her talk show with a woman named Bunny who was born to Winfrey’s mother, Vernita Lee, but given up for adoption when she was just an infant because Vernita Lee couldn’t afford to take care of her.

Kelley says her tip came from an “inside family source.” Bunny, she says, is now a grandmother.

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