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. Krackerbee

    Thumbs down. Tried too hard. Seemed insincere. Interrupted Oprah quite a few times. Forced laugh. He lacks authenticity.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. a mother

    How is possible sick people get everything and become rich and nice, careful people got nothing??? Another girl who will fight a crazy father and keep the baby will be a poor working mother trying to raise her baby, and Oprah who was happy that her baby died and try to kill herself, is rich and popular...?? Who can understand???But are we sure she does not regret what she did???? I am sure she miss that baby every minute...

    January 17, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. bruce


    January 17, 2011 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Larry Cohen

    Thank God Oprah did NOT kill herself at age 14. if she did, think of all the lonely fat chicks that would have nothing to do in the afternoons for the past 25 years. And how about Dr. Phil? He would be pumping gas at a Hess Station in Arkansas right now.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • tuma

      And Obama will still be in the U.S. senate.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Andrew N

    Oprah doesn't even have the decency to keep this to herself, i don't think this is the sorta thing you say in an interview I mean come on she said that losing her baby as a teen was her second chance, i didn't know she looked down on this kind of thing, She makes children out to be a burden when you have them at a young age, also didn't she have an abortion? i don't believe she lost her baby naturally, she is a murderer, don't believe me just research it.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • were

      You think women who have abortions are killers? WOW! Simply, WOW

      January 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ojai

      What a goof. A child has no business being forced to have a child. That is why we have laws supporting abortion rights. Duh.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Name*shirley

    Did you not read the same as I did ,oprah was 14years old oprah didn't know what to do she was scared to face her dad. I think she is great and not perfect. God forgive us over and over again. Kept up your good work oprah we all make mistakes. At least you confess yours.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • seanmom

      God forgives us *when we repent.* There is no evidence of repentance here. In another interview she cried when she thought about how much she loves Gayle King. But she can't even look sad over a *dead baby*? !

      January 18, 2011 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dion Alexander

    Oprah dont feel bad youre an veryveryvery strong women

    January 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. just me

    I think you all are forgetting is that she was a 14 year old child during the period of her life shes speaking of, still a baby herself, get over it!! truth be told shes oprah, she can say what the hell she wants and she will still have billions! the type of money none of you will EVER see. so sit here on your little blog wasting your pathetic lives while shes making money....just like that

    January 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Nate

    If all of this is true, than Oprah should be charged with murder. It's the same to me, inflicting harm to a child inside your womb as any scared mother who kills their baby as soon as it is born.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Heywood Jablome

    Oprah needs to quick chumming on the "pity me" sack. She needs to admit once and for all that she is tongue slapping Gayle and bumping some serious uglies with her. Stedman is just a ruse just like Travolta's and Cruise's wives are.If she is so worried about people, perhaps she should throw some of her grip to the homeless children of Appalachia rather than to people in foriegn countries–like most of the self-centered, banjo pickin', barefoot, inbreeding moose knuckle celebs like Jolie, etc. As for Piers–just another talk show host who will be easily distracted by stoooopid benignal anecdotoes spewed by chicken swelking butt scrumming elites. Next.....

    January 17, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bob & Bunny Hudson

    Piers Morgan reminds me of David Frost. What a great job he did with Oprah. I could have watched that interview for another hour easy.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ojai

    Already logged in and I have to go through this rigmarole of re-registering just to comment? Whatever. What a posterior-kissing interview from the guy CNN has promised we will all be discussing over the water cooler tomorrow. Never thought I would say this: Miss ya, Larry.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Not Another One


    Case closed. She should have went to jail for life.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • benda

      You are deranged.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Luce

    Oh come on, every one of you would probably breath a sigh of relief if as a fourteen year old you had a kid and it died. If I had been pregnant at that age damn right I would've killed myself. A fully formed teenager is more important than a barely sentient being, sorry.

    January 17, 2011 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • seanmom

      Remember that "more important" argument when you are old and useless and expensive and YOU have to get out of the way for a 14-year old girl. After all, you will have already had the chance to be 14, so under Obamacare you lose.

      January 18, 2011 at 2:05 am | Report abuse |
  15. angel

    Oprah u could have kept dis one to ur self cause all d teens, getting pregnant and want it out. will drink detergents.thanks to u Oprah every day we. Learn from u.

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