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. ytrewq

    Oh she has a religion with 4 million followers and believe in that SHE IS GOD really look it up,

    Who said some Americans are not nutjobs

    January 17, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  2. I'm upset that Oprah called her flesh and blood "the baby" instead of "my child" or "my baby" its make me cry. I lost one and even aborted MY baby and I PAIN in my decision daily BUT it wasn't "the baby" would I trade a Billion dollars of Oprah's wealth f

    January 17, 2011 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Maryellen Blanding

    So unbelievable!!! The baby was not brought home from the hospital by a 14 year-old....but, her father didn't know she was pregnant?? I think Oprah has done one too many interviews with teens that are pregnant. We need to irradicate teen pregnancy, not encourage it!!!

    January 17, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
  4. frava

    I love this woman so much.

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

      And I would love to know why?

      January 17, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nomi

    I think what she is trying to articulate, in an uncharacteristically clumsy fashion, is that women without reliable birth control options do not have many choices in Life. Before the days of "the pill" many women tried to abort fetuses themselves or did go to have illegal "back alley" abortions.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bermuda - St. George

    I just finished watching the premier Piers Morgan show with Oprah. It was fabulous, Peirs is the ideal replacement for Larry and Ms. Oprah, I was amazed at your honest open discourse. You were both entertaining and informative

    January 17, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  7. enoughsaid

    We miss Larry King.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sherri W.W.#1~ ILLinois

    I would give Oprah that she had a disturbing childhood .and at 14 .she probably did not know all the right things.However,she knows better today .and that story is not helpful to the young girls of today. Its too much about "me .me .me ",the same problem so many of these folks doing the talking .have these days ~Good Lord!

    January 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mister King

    Never would have suspected Oprah thought about that...nuts. Check my blog out.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kim

    How painfully boring I found this interview to be. If you are not going to respond to questions, do not agree to be interviewed. Again, painfully boring.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Laurie

    Oprah was 14. look around you and find a 14 year old girl who can make adult choices..... She has saved so many lives and is paying it back and forward all over the world. I bet some of you are people who are cheering for the guy with the golden voice and that he gets a second chance. Why not a 14 year old molested girl?!

    January 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Vanesa

    Great Show.I like this Guy.!

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

    Oprah's memories about her fears as an adolescent is not the right message to the current pregnant teenagers. They'll be thinking on commit suicide and killing their babies in order to become the next super star of American tv. THIS IS SO OPRAH, SO DRAMA!!!

    January 17, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. La Beets

    Piers Morgan and Oprah – two of the biggest phonies I've ever seen.
    GOD is this guy boring.............
    1 hour of ass kissing.

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

    Come on people, she was a scared little 14 yr. old who's unfeeling mother shipped her off to her unfeeling father. I don't think she meant that she wished the baby dead. I understood her to be saying that she was freaking out and thought her life would be over and her dreams shattered. When she miscarried she was probably honestly relieved because she knew she couldn't handle a baby in her situation and thought that she was being given a second chance to get her life together. Do I really have to explain this? I have never heard such vindictive, unsympathetic, sanctimonious comments. The woman lifted herself out of a bad situation and has done nothing but good ever since. Believe it.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • ermed

      These sad pathetic racists will jump to any excuse to bash a rich successful black woman, even smearing her for the trauma she suffered as a 14 year old girl.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
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