Winfrey: Losing baby as a teen was 'my second chance'
January 17th, 2011
09:18 PM ET

Winfrey: Losing baby as a teen was 'my second chance'

In the inaugural interview on "Piers Morgan Tonight," talk show queen Oprah Winfrey recalled contemplating suicide at 14 because she was pregnant, and how she feels she was given a second chance when she lost the baby.

"I thought, 'Before the baby was born, I’m going to have to kill myself,' " she told Piers Morgan during the interview, which aired on CNN Monday night, citing the stigma of being an unwed mother at the time, and her father's view of unwed mothers.

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Her mother in Milwaukee sent her to live with her father in Nashville, and he didn't know she was pregnant.

"My father ... said to me as I'm standing in the kitchen listening to him, 'These are the rules of the house, you're going to obey the rules, you have a 10 o'clock curfew, and I would rather see a daughter of mine floating down the Cumberland River … than to bring shame on this family and the indecency of an illegitimate child.' "

She said she didn't come close to killing herself - "I did stupid things like drinking detergent and all that kind of crazy stuff that you do when you’re trying to get attention when you’re really just trying to cry for help," she said.

"But this is my 14-year-old self. I don't even know what I thought the plan was going to be. ... You're having a baby out of wedlock, your life is over. So when the baby died – the baby was never brought home from the hospital – when the baby died, I knew that it was my second chance.

"So I went back to school, and nobody knew. Because had anybody known at that time, I wouldn’t have been able to be head of student council. I wouldn’t have been able to be speaking champion in forensics. … I wouldn’t have been chosen as one of the two teenagers in the state of Tennessee to go to the White House conference on youth. None of those things would have happened, and the entire trajectory of my life would have been different."

She discussed the baby and the suicidal thoughts after being asked whether any part of her wondered what would have happened if the child had lived.

Winfrey also discussed how her heart was broken twice, why she is not one for marriage, what she intends for her fortune when she's gone, and how she wishes everyone would have a Gayle King in their life.

Morgan's show takes over CNN's 9 p.m. ET time slot from longtime CNN host Larry King. The show's first week continues with Howard Stern on Tuesday and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Wednesday.

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soundoff (393 Responses)
  1. seanmom

    "oprah your a beautiful woman.thank god yor life went in the right direction. I was born and raised very poor inthe deep south.I'm white but was treated just like black folke was when I was very young.but I don't want to dewell on things of sorrow because you are the sunshine of our lives and the rainbow we see that is a inspiration to all that know you.the people of this and many other countries around the world love you and respect you.Keep doing what your doing it's right for you and right for the world. THE WORLD LOVES YOU GIRL!"

    The world loves Oprah and hates Jesus. God help you, Oprah. And may God have mercy on those who would blindly follow her.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  2. jesus

    Beware of those who have hidden their past sins and thus come forward and ask forgiveness. Let us ask our Creator as such to judge. She shall know in her heart the truth of pretense, family, riches, selfishness, community (false or real), and her commitment to real truth.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. Chicago

    Finally safe way to abrade stretch marks at home

    January 18, 2011 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  4. Tom

    The emotion presented by her reaction to the question seemed as if she had resentment to ever being pregnant and no remorse for the death of her child. Have some kind of emotional reaction, to well be seen as a loving human as she portrays herself to be.

    As a message, kill your child, get a second chance, you wont regret it, no tears no pain. She was being nice to Piers' ratings probably on a debut show.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
  5. pr!ncess

    No judging.."To each it's own"..:)

    January 18, 2011 at 1:38 am | Report abuse |
    • seanmom

      ."To each it's own"..:)
      Do you think you are quoting something or someone? If so, what or whom?

      January 18, 2011 at 2:22 am | Report abuse |
  6. suzy diamond

    Good SHOW! I liked the interview. I thought Piers did a very good job and asked good questions. Of course, Oprah will answer what she wants but it was still a very good interview and very interesting.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:39 am | Report abuse |
  7. krg

    The death of a baby is nothing to celebrate. I know it was difficult during that time, but to want a baby to die for your own personal convenience is wrong. She was happy her baby died so she could be on student council? Really? I am sure this opens a flood of teens to get an abortion so they too can become Oprah.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. riiiight

    What terrible interviewer. Let the guest talk! Did you really think that oprah would care that England beat Australia in cricket or that it would add something to the interview? piers you're not a funnyman and you're not a good interviewer.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
  9. jgist

    i think the interview with winfrey was great didnt think anyone could replace the great larry king but a very good start keep up the great work look foward to seeing more.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  10. Kim

    How can that woman be so wicked !!!!!
    Knocked up by a relative or not...a baby ia a baby and is a magnificent gift
    How can its death be a second chance
    How can the loss of that life be a better thing to the opportunities she later had to ir...this is beyond's twisted and wicked !!!!! Going to the White House and doing this and that .....through the death of a baby!! That woman is a vampire !!!

    January 18, 2011 at 1:47 am | Report abuse |
  11. Erica

    I wonder if Oprah tried to kill her unborn child because of the stigma? Drinking detergent? Feeling relieved that the baby died so she could reach her life's goals? If so, then that's sad.

    Have the child and give it up for adoption. Young girls and women have done it for years...out of convenience. Unborn children have a right to life.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:51 am | Report abuse |
  12. jesus

    Oh dear lord, grant us the strength to pursue education, and critical thinking, and skepticism. Please guide us away from unenlightened publicity seekers like Opra who have little to offer. We shall pray for her, yet listen to a higher calling more focused on our own families, our children, our parents, our neighbors, and our love and respect for nature. We ask that we shall no longer be attracted to commercial enterprises which we now can see are dishonest. And we ask for truth in religion, and no more Dr Phil (a phoney out to get $ by using people). I fear for my country.

    January 18, 2011 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      I agree with you wholeheartedly. She speaks of the baby dying as if it was just a rag doll. Never once mentioned how the baby died (did someone kill it?). Sounds strange to me.

      January 18, 2011 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Wow, I'm christian and that is a very rude prayer. If you don't agree with someone...just keep it to yourself...or better yet, don't read or follow that person. Also, if you fear for your country, do something positive for it. (As for myself, I joined the US Army after 9/11).

      January 18, 2011 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Jennifer

      You don't even give enough respect to Jesus to capitalize his/her name? Or are you calling yourself that? I'm so sorry for your ignorance... So sad really! I'm Christian and while I personally wouldn't have the balls to talk like Oprah, I also wouldn't judge her for her story (since I am a practicing Christian). I've come to realize that people who judge others very harshly, usually have MUCH bigger skeletons in their closet. Oprah just has the courage to share her past, do you?

      January 18, 2011 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Verdade

      How pathetic speech and Mary you are as much.

      January 19, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      @Mary, of course she did not kill the child. She would be in prison. You have no idea what her life was like so I would stop short of judgment if I were you.

      January 19, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Subhuman Troll

    I like rocks...

    January 18, 2011 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
  14. simone

    Aren't you suppose to make your confessions to a priest? A topic like suicide is a fragile subject. Involving a fetus in your suicide is saying you have no soul. I admire your brain storming idea of just now bringing this piece of information out to all the world. Someone must have told you that a dead babies soul isn't at rest until it finds another form of life to go into. Is that why you never had another baby. Are you scared to see your dead child eyes through another child if you would have conceived?

    January 18, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
    • ceri

      you are crazy. why would a dead child not be at rest for any reason

      January 18, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Anon

    Oprah did not reveal anything new. As Piers said as an opening to his've talked about this before...she was answering a question about if she missed not being a parent. She was not callous about at all. BTW she had a miscarriage.

    January 18, 2011 at 2:43 am | Report abuse |
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