Oprah to reveal family secret on own show

Lynn Elber

Oprah Winfrey has staged many a family reunion on her talk show. But on Monday's episode, she promises, the drama will be about her.

Winfrey told viewers she would have a reunion of her own on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

She wouldn't say with whom -- only that it involved something she'd learned about recently and was known to only a few people close to her.

"I thought I'd seen it all. But this, my friends, is the miracle of all miracles," Winfrey says in a promotional spot for the show.

The word "miracle" appears on screen, reinforcing her pronouncement.


Using her Chicago-based show to disclose a new wrinkle in her personal history allows her to keep other media from getting hold of it first.

"I was given some news that literally shook me to my core. This time, I'm the one being reunited," she said. "I was keeping a family secret for months, and on Monday you're going to hear it straight from me."

Her production company, Harpo, declined to provide further details.

Given Winfrey's tangled family history, the possibilities for her reunion are many.

She was born to unmarried teenagers, Vernon Winfrey and Vernita Lee, and raised at various times by a grandmother, her mother, and her father and stepmother in Mississippi, Wisconsin and Tennessee, according to Winfrey and various biographies.

However, Kitty Kelley's unauthorised 2010 biography of Winfrey alleged that Vernon Winfrey wasn't Oprah's biological father.

Kelley also claimed that she discovered the actual father's identity but was keeping it secret until Winfrey learns the truth herself.