Oprah Winfrey’s best friend Gayle King — who the TV queen has called “the sister everybody wants” — opened up this morning to Good Morning America about Oprah’s big family secret — her half-sister, Patricia.
“As someone who’s been in the position of reuniting people … for her to be the person that’s being reunited was certainly a big shock to her,” Gayle said on GMA this morning. “She wants to get to know her she says, woman to woman, and try to see where it goes, but she is certainly open to having a relationship.”
Gayle also explained how she found it remarkable that Patricia and her children decided not to sell the story to the media before meeting Oprah herself.
“This is extraordinary that somebody would have this information about Oprah, who as you know has been sold out on many occasions by friends, by co-workers, in some cases family, with stories that weren’t as legitimate as this,” Gayle share. “Patricia wasn’t trying to get Oprah, she was trying to find her mother … having Oprah as a sister, a half sister, was a bonus.”
Patricia is a single mother of two and was give up for adoption in Milwaukee, by Oprah’s mother, Vernita Lee, in 1963.
“I was 9 years old at the time of [Patricia’s adoption], living with my father in Nashville, Tenn.,” Oprah said on her Talk show. “I had no idea my mother was even pregnant.”
In 2007, Patricia discovered her relation to Oprah, but wanted to keep things private until she reunited with her mother.
Vernita kept the adoption a secret for 40 years.
“Vernita, of course, kept this a secret from everybody. Even when Patricia came forward, Vernita was still denying it,” Gayle said. “She [Oprah] said in that moment, talking to Vernita, she realized that she was still holding onto the shame and to say, let it go, release it, we support you, we believe you. What a gift she has given her [mother].”
Today, Oprah said her audience’s response to the family news”shook her to her core,” and left her “speechless.”
“I talked to Oprah early this morning. She’s been up on Facebook, reading all the responses and reading the reaction to the show and what is surprising her is that this has happened to a lot of people,” Gayle added.
Oprah recently opened up to Barbara Walters about Gayle, hailing her as the best pal anyone could ask for.
“She is… the mother I never had. She is… the sister everybody would want. She is the friend that everybody deserves,” Oprah said during her “Unplugged” interview on ABC in December. “I don’t know a better person. I don’t know a better person.”
Catch Gayle open up in the clip below!