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Posted at 9:49 AM ET, 04/12/2010

Kitty Kelley's new Oprah tell-all: Bombshell or dud?

By Liz Kelly

Kitty Kelley's new unauthorized biography isn't likely to make the cut for Oprah's Book Club, but a day ahead of its official release, "Oprah: A Biography" is already getting big-time buzz thanks to some bombshell revelations. Or, umm, supposed revelations uncovered in three years of research and interviews with people close to the guarded queen of all media.

Among Kelley's bombshells:

A young Oprah had an affair with John Tesh, erstwhile "Entertainment Tonight" host and new-age musician. According to an excerpt obtained by the New York Daily News, Winfrey was just 20 when she started seeing Tesh and the two actually lived together until Tesh ended the relationship in a midnight getaway:

"He said one night he looked down and saw his white body next to her black body and couldn't take it anymore," another Tesh ex-paramour told Kelley.
"He walked out in the middle of the night. ... He told me he later felt very guilty about it."

Neither Tesh nor Winfrey have commented on the allegation.

Kelley claims to have scooped Oprah by discovering the name of Winfrey's biological father. But, says Kelley, she's chosen to keep his name under wraps until Oprah learns her dad's identity herself.


Winfrey and supposed special friend Gayle King in 2006. (AP)

The book rekindles the rumor that Winfrey is gay and involved in an under-the-radar relationship with BFF Gayle King. The two have alleged pet names for each other: "Oprah was 'Negro,' Gayle was 'Blackie,' " Kelley writes.

Oprah is -- surprise surprise -- vain. As revealed in direct quotes from O herself (Kelley says Oprah's own words informed much of her research): "I really like me, I really do." "When you mention great actresses, you'll have to say my name." "I know people really really love me, love me, love me."

Winfrey supposedly makes all of her employees sign confidentiality agreements and refer to her as Mary in public, not Oprah, just in case someone is eavesdropping.

Oprah once referred to the Kennedys as her relatives.

As our Reliable Source colleagues report, D.C. art gallery owner Peter Colasante got into a verbal spat with Oprah (who apparently refers to herself in the third person) five years ago after she blew off an appointment to visit his showroom.

A shocking WaPo connection! "I knew Oprah before she was Oprah, when she wore an Afro," The Post's Jura Koncius told Kelley.

Many of the so-called revelations center on already well-tread ground, like O's addictive relationship with food. F'rinstance, Kelley recounts the time Winfrey ordered and immediately consumed two pecan pies from hotel room service.

Despite Kelley's contention that most major media outlets are afraid to interview her for fear of offending Oprah, she did appear with Matt Lauer on "Today" this morning and "Oprah: A Biography" is already No. 16 in Amazon's sales rankings.

What's your take on the Oprah book hype? Share your thoughts below...

By Liz Kelly  | April 12, 2010; 9:49 AM ET
Categories:  Books, Celebrities  | Tags:  Gayle King, John Tesh, Kitty Kelley, Oprah, Oprah Winfrey  
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Next: Weekend box office: 'Night' by a nose

Comments

Liz and Jen, can the Post's computer folks please block the sales spams? You know it's really bad when they post soon after your latest installment goes online (and, today, even before any Lizards).

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | April 12, 2010 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Kelley's books on Frank Sinatra, Nancy Regan and the Bush family were absolutely first-rate. I'm most interested to see what she's found out about Oprah.

Posted by: cllrdr | April 12, 2010 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Yes, PLEASE ask the techies to block this stuff. It shows up in almost all the comments across the columns & blogs. Sometimes 2 or 3 right in a row. There must be some way to block it.

Posted by: LBinVA | April 12, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

I pray those pet names are fake!

Posted by: Roxie1 | April 12, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Working on it LBin -- trouble is they keep sending from different user names and IP addresses.

Posted by: Liz Kelly | April 12, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Darn, the spam is gone and I was still trying to figure out if I had enough good equipment.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | April 12, 2010 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Ran into Oprah quite literally on Michigan avenue years ago. She was jogging and I did not move when she expected and she ran right into me. She was with a large entourage of people who just ushered her along. She didn't even apologize for stepping on my foot! Kitty Kelly didn't get that scoop.

Posted by: hodie | April 12, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I have friends who met Oprah in NY on Broadway - they have pictures - and they said she was extremely nice and didn't mind taking pictures with them. I have never met her so I can only go by their pictures - they're all smiling :).

Posted by: rlj1 | April 12, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

While I can't forgive Oprah for dumping Dr. Phil on us, I also don't believe much of what Kitty Kelley has to say. I'm always kind of surprised when her gossip books are discussed (and advertised) by news sources.

Posted by: sarahabc | April 12, 2010 12:28 PM | Report abuse

I hate biographies. They're just never as juicy as fiction. I will therefore probably love Kitty Kelley's Opragraphy.

Posted by: kbockl | April 12, 2010 1:03 PM | Report abuse

*shrug* She worked hard for her money, so I can't begrudge her that one little bit. Don't like the impact she has, but she's worked hard to be in that place.

But c'mon - she hasn't pumped her own gas in years, she's seen her show turn into a major lifestyle influence, and she's got enough money to insulate herself from real life with retainers and employees. If she's self-centered and shallow and expects everyone to kowtow to her, is that a huge surprise?

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | April 12, 2010 1:05 PM | Report abuse

An affair with John Tesh would probably turn me gay, too.

Posted by: mdreader01 | April 12, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

Welllllll, I went to the same school as Jura Koncius, so that means I have two degrees of separation from Oprah. Lahhh-deee-daahhh.

Oprah and Gayle have very unimaginative pet names for each other. I was hoping for something along the lines of "Tuna Taco" and "L'il Debbie"

I thought that Oprah long ago established that she has no father, because she is not human. Oprah is a force majeure.

If you had an entourage at your beck and call, would YOU pump your own gas? then again, if, like Oprah, you were one of the largest sources of methane in broadcasting, you would already be pumping out your own gas.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | April 12, 2010 1:17 PM | Report abuse

*shrug* who cares? None of these "revelations" seem like anything other than catty gossip. Oprah has a right to her privacy.

Posted by: Californian11 | April 12, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Why let the truth get in the way of a good story! Self-made billionaire can be mean, strange, and self-absorbed!! I can't wait to get my copy! Or not.

Posted by: bigceedee | April 12, 2010 1:20 PM | Report abuse

I read books constantly, but not Character/Assassination/Truth Stretching Trash by yellow "Journalists".

Posted by: lufrank1 | April 12, 2010 1:52 PM | Report abuse

I've read several biographies of Frank Sinatra, from the official overviews by his daughter to Kitty Kelley's and I really feel that she did great justice to the reality of Frank Sinatra in her book. I know of a few casino incidents that were mentioned but brushed aside in friendlier bios that Kitty goes into great detail on, including interviewing multiple witnesses and from that I really felt that Kelley did her research and published the "truth" about him. I think there was only one incident, that she herself vaguely described, that seemed far-fetched. But when 2 different people talk about the same rude incident that the family denies it makes one wonder. In the end I was surprised that the Sinatra bio was really a favorable bio and the negative parts were no more negative than modern gangster swagger/pride.

Posted by: bbcrock | April 12, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

Kelley has a track record now.

I will never read this book.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | April 12, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Why on earth would anyone believe this drivel?. I am sorry but I am so sick and tired of tabloid passing as journalism. What about Ms. Kelley?, why isn't anyone questioning her motives? her sources?, I think its a little too convenient for her to say something like "oh! well Oprah's mingnons are trying to cover up the truth?". So what if she is vein we all are vein -- people are three dimensional and are complicated. You can't go around thinking that Oprah is everyone's BFF in their head - thats what Xanax and Prozac are for. Get over yourself Ms. Kelly, its not as though you have discovered where they burried Jimmy Hoffa. So Oprah's a diva big whoop!. I don't make nearly as much as she does and I have an attitude!. Write a book about me!

Posted by: sunnyside1 | April 12, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

So the new age yanni wannbe tapped harpo. Now thats what I call ENTERTAINMENT TONITE.

At least she didnt go octomom on everyone and have liter of vain obnoxious brats like her.

Harpo gay? No way.

Posted by: Italiaxxx | April 12, 2010 2:53 PM | Report abuse

"An affair with John Tesh would probably turn me gay, too."

hahaahaha!!

Posted by: chunche | April 12, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather do Gayle than John Tesh, and I'm a straight female!

Posted by: onlytheshadowknows1 | April 12, 2010 8:54 PM | Report abuse

Gayle is hot.

Posted by: chunche | April 12, 2010 9:33 PM | Report abuse

1st, KELLEY gets raked for being a "gossip". There is NOTHING in the dictionary definition connoting UN-truth in gossip.

I don't care about Oprah, have not seen more than a couple of MINUTES of her. But I love the books Kitty KELLEY did about Nancy RAYGUN, SINATRA, and the BUSH family, although I thought she went WAY easy on the BUSHes.

Now, all the biggies (LETTERMAN, *all* of ABC network shows, The View, Joy BEHAR, Larry KING, and Charlie ROSE) are blackballing Kitty KELLY in the roll-out of her Oprah book. Hypocritical Barbara WALTERS says "what KELLEY does is DIRTY." HAH! Like it's any different from what Bahbwah WAHWAH has done all her career: Single-handedly degrading "news" into personalities, confessions, and GOSSIP. Bahbwah is publicizing her interview with Riell HUNTER--what is THAT?! What do The View co-hosts do EVERY day?

Anyway, the Today Show interview with KELLEY was underwhelming. They're not giving out real stuff, mainly just SHOCKING us that Oprah and John TESH had a fling! But these excerpts show something else: The SCARY, Draconian POWER she exerts over everybody around her:

http://gawker.com/5516272/excerpts-from-the-biography-that-oprah-doesnt-want-you-to-read

Oh, and besides Today, the only big venue hosting KELLY is O'LOOFAH. He would explode if KELLEY wrote up his sexual harassment history.

Posted by: Ships2 | April 13, 2010 9:40 PM | Report abuse

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