Oprah Winfrey was reportedly “ambushed” by a “secret son” of hers outside the Ed Sullivan Theatre in New York City post a talk show taping. The media superstar spoke to Entertainment Tonight’s Nancy O’Dell about the events that transpired. Oprah explained, “I met Calvin [Mitchell] around the early '90s, I think it was 1992. I was doing a film for television called There Are No Children Here.”
"We were shooting in the projects in Chicago and I was sitting on set during a break, and this cute little sparkly-eyed boy came underneath the yellow tape to hand me a soda. I was so charmed by him that I started talking to him about his family, his school life, and found out that he was in a situation where his mother didn't have a job and they were stuck in the projects,” she said, which confirmed Calvin is not her biological son.
Oprah was generous with the family, paying for them to move out of the projects, find a job for Calvin’s mother, and pay for Calvin’s new private school tuition. Except, there was a problem … Oprah received information that Calvin was not attending classes because the family was not able to wake up in time. She visited the family with her partner, Stedman Graham, and saw there were no clocks in the house. She explained, “We went out, Stedman and I, went to K-Mart that moment, got a bag full of clocks, came back to the house, taught them how to set the alarm and all that."
Eventually, Calvin was expelled from the private school. Oprah said, "I had a long conversation with him about how disappointed I was but I was going to give him another chance," she continued. "I found a school in Mississippi that was a private boarding school because I thought if I could remove him from the environment that he'd been accustomed to growing up in, that maybe that would be helpful to him."
Calvin blamed the teachers for not liking him. Oprah insisted she tried to communicate how important education is—"I said, 'Calvin, this is the moment. This is a seminal moment for you. I know you are 16 and can't see the road ahead, but if you leave this school and refuse to get an education -- I have tried to offer you an education twice -- there isn't another school I can put you in. If you leave this school, I am done. There is nothing else I can do.' ... And that was my last conversation with Calvin in the early '90s."
INF – Oprah Winfrey At The CBS Morning Show
Oprah didn’t immediately recognize Calvin but when she realized he was the same person she tried to help once, she asked her team to contact him. When Oprah realized Calvin told his story to the tabloids, she no longer wanted to speak with him.
Oprah Winfrey arrives at the ‘Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ in NYC