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. carol

    To Ebolter and ytrewq- watch what you wish, evil thoughts tend to rebound, and wishing someone dead, or wishing someone a suicide, is likely to have ugly repercussions – not to mention what kind of person you could be to wish that on anyone. Yuk.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lynn

    Am I reading this right: She drank detergent and heaven knows what else while pregnant with this baby. Then was relieved when the baby died? Does this woman have any remorse for what she did - not the getting pregnant part. We all make mistakes. But, drinking detergent while pregnant and then thinking she dodged a bullet when it died? That's the part that is unbelievable.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex

      She was freakin' 14!

      January 17, 2011 at 9:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • frits

      Finally, the voice of reason!

      January 17, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • jennie

      I TOTALLY agree with you!!! No wonder the baby died!!!

      January 17, 2011 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. DJ

    What a wonderful roll model for the pregnant teenagers!

    January 17, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • poobearnb

      I am sure she wasn't pondering her role as a "role-model" to teenagers when she was 14. You are dense.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. meee!!

    She ate it at a voodoo ceremony with the hatians

    January 17, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Paul

    By the way, OWN is not holding it's launch ratings and has been slipping. Connection?

    January 17, 2011 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. julie

    Zzzzzz for sure. After seeing the "behind the scenes" of Liza Minelli being on her show, I have a whole new perspective of all of this hollywood stuff – it's fake to the max and I am saying goodbye to it........

    January 17, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John B Tebbetts

    What a total disgrace to be a supposed heir to Larry King. If CNN knows the market and the market loves inane, placating, butt kissing interviewing, Piers is definitely the guy. Those of us who formerly watched the network for more, at least first person, are disgusted and gone. What a joke!

    January 17, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lindy

    This is the most horrible, sickening thing I've ever read in my life. Second chances aren't given via the death of an innocent child. What goes around comes around... maybe when Oprah dies, her death will give someone else a second chance. I am so discusted.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • lisalisa

      what is discusted? Hum, maybe when she dies, you will learn how to spell.

      January 17, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • benjamin

      I love your mind. Exactly what I was thinking.

      January 17, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Offtopic

    Oh nice messege to send to the young girls in the world. God forbid should the life you created lived. You might have had to take responsibility for your actions. But yay! Your child is dead so you get another chance.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • L

      She told the truth, like it or not.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Alex

    I like Piers and I think he was a very good choice for the show.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Summarex

    This all makes perfect sense. For whatever reason, the woman has problems. The issue for society is how to deal effectively to silence and render harmless, the charismatic mental defectives that the entertainment industry produces.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. rudy Ramirez

    I wish the show started with higher celebrities and not trash. Been reach and a host talk show don't change stupidity.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pierre Zonzon

    Piers you are excellent and amazing, you are changing the face of CNN.


    January 17, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dana

    Are you serious, Oprah? You knew it was your second chance when YOUR baby died? Wow!

    January 17, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DasLeezard

    I have an equally sad-sack past. I'm ready to collect my millions of dollars and minions now.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
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