Oprah Reunites With Her Birth Sister
Oprah Winfrey Reunites With Her Half Birth Sister
Oprah Winfrey revealed on her TV show today that she has a new birth family member – Patricia, her half birth sister (her sister’s last name was not revealed).
Apparently, Oprah’s birth mother gave Patricia up for adoption, shortly after her birth, but kept the adoption from Oprah. Oprah was nine years old and living with her father at that time. Oprah never knew her birth mother was pregnant.
Oprah’s birth sister lived in foster homes until she was 7—some of them “not so good.” By 17, she was a single birth mother, Patricia said, and six years later, she had another child. When she was 20, she searched for information about her birth mother and then let it go until years later.
Patricia said she started thinking Oprah might be her sister when she saw an interview with Oprah’s birth mother, Vernita Lee, on TV. The birth family information coincided with what she already knew about her family. “We realized that Oprah could be my sister,” Patricia said. She tracked down Oprah’s niece who is the daughter of Oprah’s other half-sister. The pair did a DNA test and they learned they were aunt and niece. That started the reunion process rolling with birth family members reaching out to Oprah who confirmed with her birth mother that the story was true.
Oprah said that the news of her birth sister literally shook her to her core. She thought that nothing could surprise her.
Through the years, Oprah Winfrey has reunited many birth family members on her TV show. She said, “This time, I’m the one being reunited.” Oprah shared home video of her reunion with her birth sister this past Thanksgiving when she and her partner Stedman Graham drove to Milwaukee to meet her birth sister. Oprah expressed why she admires her sister so much. She said that she has had many people betray her since she became a celebrity and she was moved by the fact that Patricia kept the story secret. “She never once thought about going to the press,” Oprah said. “She never thought once to sell the story.”
The birth sisters sat with their birth mother, Vernita Lee, and Oprah asked about her feelings about the family reunion. “I was shocked to know that she was trying to get in touch with me,” Lee said. “When I first heard about her, I wasn’t afraid but I was a little leery.”
Oprah said that after leaving her birth mother’s house that she realized Lee has been unable to fully embrace her new daughter because she is still carrying the shame of what she had done.
Oprah said, “I would like to say to our mother, you can let that shame go.” “You can let that go.”
Oprah said she chose to make the announcement about her birth sister herself so the media would not exploit it.
Oprah asked Patricia what has been the most rewarding part of the journey for her.
“Getting my family,” her birth sister said.