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. Fred


    January 17, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nnamdi

      I think Pierce Morgan show will breathe life into CNN! Absolutely Fantastic Show, well thus far I should say. And it gets better... Howard Stern, Cloney, etc. Now I have reason to watch CNN again. Cheers mate!

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

      Turn the channel if you don't like it!!

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

      When is she going to come out of the closet? She is just as gay as Tyler Perry.

      January 17, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Debbie

      Thought the interview was super! He did a great job! And if you haven't noticed Oprah has achieved a lot! Give the lady some credit!

      January 17, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • ytrewq

      She is a Lesbian, if did not know, your have ot be in the looney bin, her so-called-boyfriend is a paid front,

      Hillary is also a lesbian and obama is gay, big deal, they are just closet critters

      January 17, 2011 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • ungie

      How can anyone be happy to have lost a baby? Absolutely selfish and sinful.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ebolter

      "If she's gay, how did she have a baby you stupid piece of trash"
      I believe, even gay peoples reproductive systems work just like a non-gay persons, I may be wrong though ?

      January 17, 2011 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not Another One

      14 and preggers. Baby died. No grief.

      The woman is unbelievable. 2nd chance? Selfish, egotistic, lesbian.

      Cut cable last week, thank the Lord. Now I never have to listen to her voice again.

      She makes me nauseous. At least on the web, glancing over a story is so much better than hearing her blather on and on..wat a relief!

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

      Congrats on a great first interview! To all you O bashers....There is nothing wrong with knowing your purpose in life and speaking your own truth. Her sense of purpose obviously resonates with many of her viewers.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • stranger steve

      Everyone thinks she's god. F

      January 17, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • sure

      "I think Pierce Morgan show will breathe life into CNN!" How can he not, with great guests like Oprah and Howard Stern? Not.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • MsZfrmOZ

      KUDOS to Piers!! My only previous exposure to Piers was on "Americas' Got Talent", and quite frankly, I thought he was irritating and worthless. I am so thrilled that I was able to view his first interview as Larry King's replacement. HUGE shoes to fill! Piers, you hit it out of the ballpark – Congratulations! My opinion of you has changed 360 degrees and I look forward to many future, entertaining shows! (I'll pass tomorrow just because I can not stand Howard Stern!) I have never seen a better interview of Oprah, and I am such a huge fan of hers, I watch everything thing I can that involves her.
      I wish you much continued success, Piers! NOW I understand CNN's choice! (-:

      January 17, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andre

      I can’t believe it… After all the hype, CNN really laid an egg with this one! This show was really bad. With programming like this, is it any wonder CNN’s ratings have been falling…I think pink slips are imminent and this show will get canceled… Probably within the next 3 months… Any takers out there?

      January 17, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Andre

      I'm with you Fred....Not even Oprah can save this show

      January 17, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • seanmom

      "There is nothing wrong with knowing your purpose in life and speaking your own truth.."
      'Your own truth'? Truth is truth. You don't get 'your own.' Maybe YOUR purpose in life is to learn what Truth IS. Hint: you won't hear it from Oprah.

      January 18, 2011 at 1:46 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ebolter

    too bad they were just thoughts ...

    January 17, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Nancy M. B.

    Who was the father?

    January 17, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |

      wayne brady

      January 17, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • wazzup

      Ok.... That was kinda funny. tee hee!
      Serious note: I hope for image's sake this snippet from the interview was taken out of context.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Mike

    Whah whah. What a Mistake to interview Oprah. This is not provacative dialoguee. Its kiss a..

    January 17, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not Another One

      She made sure she had the right interviewer. Can you imagine someone asking her questions the way she does, say when poor Michael Jackson was ram-rodded by her disgusting questions?

      The woman is impossible. Wish she just go. Away.

      Please go away.

      January 17, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • America3

      @Not Another One- I agree with she is getting a little taste of what it's like to have your personal life and imperfections exposed to the public....Now she gets a taste of the nasty backlash of her interview....I say Karma rules...and the viewers and MJ are enjoying her getting a taste of her own medicine...

      January 17, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Rochelle

    Yawn...another kiss-ass talk show. AND taped. BORING.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. bianca

    oprah rocks!

    January 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • lisalisa

      +1 infiniity (@ anonymous and ebolter)

      January 17, 2011 at 9:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not Another One

      She rocks alright...all the rocks are in her little head

      January 17, 2011 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • bill

      Oprah's fabulous

      January 17, 2011 at 10:27 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bryan

    Wow, I really don't like Oprah Winfrey and this is just one more reason. What a disgusting and vile person.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • lisalisa

      You're just a loser w dude, who can't take the fact that others are elevating themselves in other races. I bet you like Palin though

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

      Dude, you're a dick.

      January 17, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • BGSU81

      And what have you done for someone today?

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

      Having a baby that dies is a second chance? Hhmmm....perhaps she in her position of power, which is not in my opinion warranted, have mentioned that being an unwed mother is still something society dislikes AND that the dislike is wrong!

      January 17, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • mary

      I agree with you Bryan. I was disgusted when I read about this. Too many people idolize this person..
      Drinking detergent was this one of her "Random acts of kindness" for her unborn child?

      January 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Elaine

    You sound like idiots.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Deezers

    Thanks Oprah. Keep sharing for the light of the world

    January 17, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Not Another One

      Her only light is her nasty self. Didn't even cry over loosing a child.

      What an insensitive person.

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

    ytrewq and ebolter, you're terrible. just terrible. ugh.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. ETP

    That fat cow will say anything to get attention. Truth is she gave birth to a child and named her Whoopi.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Fred Lopez

    Piers Morgan is good but his british accent is little hard to follow.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      Hear! Hear! If that doesn't work activate the captions.

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

    This woman just keeps coming back to milk public sentiment. If she's not revealing her past drug history, she's talking about her poor childhood and molestation, or how she has to battle being fat. I guess having millions of stay at home yuppie wives she can buy with gifts is not enough.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Keith

    She should have kept this shlt to herself. I'm disgusted.

    January 17, 2011 at 9:40 pm | Report abuse |
  15. shannon

    Ms. Oprah: You are a common-law wife – deal with it. You can think all you want that you have redefined marriage, but like love is love, marriage is marriage. What goes on in the real world with women who do as you do, but are not wealthy like you, is that they end up without spousal support and all of the other protected rights that go with being an actual lawful wife when the relationship ends. They then go through a divorce, but the law, friends and family don't treat it as such, and so they do not properly grieve the end of the relationship.

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