Oprah Winfrey revealed she has a secret half-sister, Patricia, and the two were reunited on her show today! While it was a happy reunion for the sisters, Oprah says their mother Vernita Lee hasn’t “fully embraced” this miracle.
On The Oprah Winfrey Show, Oprah announced she learned she had a half-sister back in November.
According to Oprah, her mother Vernita Lee gave her sister up for adoption shortly after she was born in 1963.
“There is no way a story like this wouldn’t get out in the press and wouldn’t get exploited,”Oprah told her audience. “It is true. I wanted you to hear it from me first.”
Her half-sister, Patricia, grew up in foster homes until she was seven and later learned she had three other siblings.
Patricia went through her adoption agency to identity her mother, but learned her birth mother did not want to meet her.
The Milwaukee woman then saw an interview on TV with Oprah’s mother in which she talked about two of her children who had died, which matched the detailed Patricia was given in her adoption records.
“I said, no,” Patricia recalled. “I said, that can’t be…We realized that Oprah could be my sister.”
In 2007, Patricia got in contact with Oprah’s nieces who worked nearby and a DNA test came out positive.
“Here’s how I was told,” Oprah said. “They say there’s something in the family you need to know about.”
“Finally I said to my assistant Libby, what is going on in this family? She says, ‘You have a sister.’ And I’m like, what? That is how I found out.
“I call my mother, literally confront my mother with this story,” Oprah recalled. “‘Is this true, is this true?’ She said, ‘Oh, yes.'”
Oprah, with the support of Stedman Graham, then drove to Milwaukee to spend Thanksgiving with Patricia.
“It was a beloved moment, if you know what I mean,” she shared. “I’ll tell you what is so remarkable about you…it’s gonna make me cry, so be patient.
“Since I have been a person known in the public, there have been few times when I’ve been anywhere and not been sold out…What is so extraordinary is they have known this secret since 2007…She never once thought to go to the press,” Oprah explained. “She never once thought to sell this story.”
And now the sisters are hoping to spend lots of time together.
Oprah said on their future, “We’re gonna be getting to know each other in the months and days to come.”
And Oprah hopes their mother Vernita will come around.
“She is still of the same mindset of 1963 and is still carrying the shame that would have been put upon her in 1963, and therefore, she hasn’t been able to release herself to fully embrace [Patricia] and embrace this miracle that has really happened in our family,” Oprah explained.
“You can let that go,” Oprah said speaking directly to the camera. “You can let the shame go,” she says. “There are millions of people all over this country who are just like you, who have given up their children because they knew at the time that they could not provide the best for them. So, Vernita, you can let that go.”