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Posted at 11:05 AM ET, 01/24/2011

Oprah unveils previously undiscovered half-sister on her show

By Lisa de Moraes
oprah
Oprah says she never knew her mother was pregnant. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

Lest ratings lag this week, after her triumphant visit to Australia, Oprah announced on her show today (which is seen hours earlier in Harpo Productions's home-town Chicago than in Washington) that she has a half-sister she never knew about.

On her program, Oprah says she learned about half-sister Patricia last November and the two met on Thanksgiving Day. Winfrey made "home video" of her first meeting with her sister on Thanksgiving Day; she and Stedman Graham drove to Milwaukee to finally meet Patricia, Oprah explained.

Well, that could not have worked out more neatly if one of the half-sisters had been some kind of queen of daytime TV.

And speaking thereof, Winfrey told her audience she chose to make the announcement herself - so the media would not exploit it.

We'll give you a minute to savor that one.

Winfrey got choked up when she began to tell her studio audience that so many people have betrayed her since she became a celebrity, and it really moved her that Patricia kept the secret of her relationship to Oprah quiet all this time until it best suited Oprah's final-season scheduling plans.

Patricia "never once thought to sell this story" to the press, and mess up her show plans, Oprah said -- the highest praise she can bestow.

According to press reports filed by those lucky enough to have seen the show this morning, Winfrey says she was 9 years old and living with her father when her mother gave birth to Patricia and gave her up for adoption. Oprah says she never even knew her mother was pregnant.

So, on today's show, you're going to see Oprah and her Newly-In-November-Discovered Half-Sister Patricia sit down with their mother, Vernita Lee, so Oprah can ask Lee how she feels about being reunited with Patricia.

Which does NOT, in case you were thinking, qualify as being "exploited by the media." Because it's Oprah.

Your take: Whom would you choose to be your long lost sibling?

Photos: Oprah Winfrey through the years

By Lisa de Moraes  | January 24, 2011; 11:05 AM ET
Categories:  TV News  
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Comments

Ah, Lisa. Your cynicism is a thing of beauty.

Posted by: njardine | January 24, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

Forget all the haters who don't get it! Mr. Tony has it right...Lisa is just about the best there is.

Posted by: AlligatorArms | January 24, 2011 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Really, who honestly gives a s***? Just more media manipulation by the Big O.

Posted by: Baltimore11 | January 24, 2011 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Why sell the story to the press when your half-sister is Oprah? One-time, six-figure payment vs lifetime seven-figure annuities.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | January 24, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh Lisa, how I do love you for this.

Posted by: Mara_Seaforest | January 24, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Shame on you Lisa for casting stones and aspersions at Oprah during her last season! You have a half brother, me. I am also half brother to Oprah's half sister. How does that make you feel?

Posted by: toquasin | January 24, 2011 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I have many half-siblings and I am happy for Oprah and her sister at being reunited.

Posted by: CTwildheart | January 24, 2011 1:24 PM | Report abuse

My half-sister is an Oprah fan but our family has kept it secret all these years.

Posted by: DC2LA | January 24, 2011 1:25 PM | Report abuse

"One-time, six-figure payment vs lifetime seven-figure annuities."

My feelings exactly, would be like killing the goose w/ the golden eggs.

Posted by: BEEPEE | January 24, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Pookie, you are awful. Just awful!

Gawd, I love you.

Posted by: Bluefish2012 | January 24, 2011 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Pookie, you are awful. Just awful!

Gawd, I love you.

Posted by: Bluefish2012 | January 24, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Sheesh. Only Oprah would turn this into a television event.

Posted by: jckdoors | January 24, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

THIS IS MY BROTHER FROM ANOTHER MOTHER

Posted by: COOLCHILLY | January 24, 2011 1:43 PM | Report abuse

Nicely done.

Posted by: jhtlag1 | January 24, 2011 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Is there a reason the rest of the world cares about this? If Oprah really wanted to make an announcement, it should be that she's leaving public life for good. That would be newsworthy!!

Many people have half-brothers or sisters that they meet later on in life. It's not that big a deal.

Posted by: ahs78graduate | January 24, 2011 2:09 PM | Report abuse

Big whoop, Operah.

Posted by: bmschumacher | January 24, 2011 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Oprah, you are a self-important ass. And Patricia's the worse off for being related to you.

Posted by: Jayne | January 24, 2011 2:22 PM | Report abuse

"unveils"? Is she a car? Maybe she's wearing a burqa or is in the middle of a wedding.

Posted by: rj2835a | January 24, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Great Oprah, may God bless you, your sister and entire family! You have come a long way from where you started from, keep going to bigger and better things. Take good care of your sis as I know you will since you are a generous and caring person!

I'm searching to see if somehow we are related! Just joking.

Posted by: IdaHere | January 24, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Just think what will happen when she finally decides to "come out!" Now that will be a rating.

Posted by: KBlit | January 24, 2011 3:33 PM | Report abuse

""One-time, six-figure payment vs lifetime seven-figure annuities."

My feelings exactly, would be like killing the goose w/ the golden eggs."

Well yes, but look at how many relatives/employees/hangers on take that one time payment and run. Even some of Oprah's relatives have done that. Dog the Bounty Hunters SON threw him under the bus for cash.

That said, I found out when I was 16 that the man I thought was my father wasn't, and that I had a half brother, I don't know when they told him about me. Seems like stuff like this happens more than people realize.

Posted by: onlytheshadowknows1 | January 24, 2011 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Always love your take on things, Lisa.

Posted by: seaduck2001 | January 24, 2011 3:50 PM | Report abuse

So many things that Oprah doesn't know..

Her daddy.
Her half-sister's uncle-daddy.
Her momma be pregnant.
They are all related to the Goodyear Blimp.

Posted by: Dutra1 | January 24, 2011 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Seems to me Oprah could afford a whole sister.

Posted by: nanonano1 | January 24, 2011 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I feel sorry for people who take Oprah seriously.

To those of you who do take Oprah seriously, you're not allowed to make fun of Tom Cruise any more; your worship of Oprah is just as goofy as Tom Cruise's belief in whatever it is the Scientologists believe in.

Posted by: Ombudsman1 | January 24, 2011 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I care about this story insomuch as it gives Lisa an opportunity to write about OOO-PRRAAAAaaaah. Always my favorite bits. Oprah's like a successful version of the Salahis, I can't stop enjoying her mania.

P.S. Nanonano1 is the winner. That was brilliant.

Posted by: jtinyaface | January 24, 2011 8:00 PM | Report abuse

in 2007 in a people magazine article Oprah stated she was betrayed by a family member and People Mag. named that person as Patricia Lloyd Oprah's half sister. Does she have 2 sisters named Patricia or does she think we forgot about the baby she had at age 14 and Patricia (half sister told the world) I am confused. are there 2 have sisters???????????? named Patricia?????????

Posted by: meme11 | January 24, 2011 8:45 PM | Report abuse

Oprah probably has a lot of half sisters that she doesn't know about.

Posted by: thedefendantX | January 24, 2011 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Half-sister? Looks more like a sister-and-a-half!

Posted by: KJT1 | January 24, 2011 10:19 PM | Report abuse

meme11 is right...People magazine named her half-sister in an article back in 2007. The article says: "Winfrey writes that the relative, whom she doesn't name but whom the Associated Press identifies as her half-sister, Patricia Lloyd, "sat in a room, told them the story of my hidden shame and left their offices $19,000 richer.""

But hey, let's not be judgemental. Maybe Oprah's not familiar with People magazine or the AP and didn't know she had a half-sister for the last 4 years.

Here's a link to the original People article from January 20, 2007:

http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20009251,00.html

Posted by: Str8Facts | January 24, 2011 10:35 PM | Report abuse


This author is more than a little snarky and hypocrytical at the same time. If Oprah were, say, her next door neighbor, this article would never have been written. It is Oprah's celebrity that makes this supposed article newsworthy, and if the author had had a chance to expose the secret that Oprah presented herself, surely the author would be celebrating a coup. Jealousy and shallowness pervade this piece and sadness. It's a sad sign for journalism and humanity that one has to use sarcasm to try to belittle someone else who has made more major contributions to our society than the writer of this article probably ever will in her lifetime. Sad writer. Sad person. Sad, sad, sad!!!

Posted by: emailwilsonbell | January 24, 2011 10:54 PM | Report abuse

Will this attention whoor ever stop?

Posted by: password11 | January 24, 2011 10:59 PM | Report abuse

Oprah had another half sister named Patricia who passed away.
I don't understand the big whoop about discovering a half-sister, and it's certainly not a "MIRACLE." I don't know too many people these days who DON'T have half-siblings and it isn't a big freakin' deal, so they don't need to be "unveiled."
Geez.

Posted by: donnabee1 | January 25, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

Oprah had another half sister named Patricia who passed away.
I don't understand the big whoop about discovering a half-sister, and it's certainly not a "MIRACLE." I don't know too many people these days who DON'T have half-siblings and it isn't a big freakin' deal, so they don't need to be "unveiled."
Geez.

Posted by: donnabee1 | January 25, 2011 9:20 AM | Report abuse

If anyone has been in the check out lane at the grocery store at least once a month there is some story about Oprah on the national enquirer or some other rag that is always false.
I admire her sister for not wanting to hurt her because it looks to me like people have betrayed her over and over.
It's sad that you don't get it. Sometimes your articles can be funny, but other times there just mean and miss the point.
If Oprah didn't own this story it surely would have been exploited by the media.

Posted by: mmalewitz | January 25, 2011 11:22 AM | Report abuse

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