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. JRod

    5-to-1 odds says Oprahs munchin carpet

    January 17, 2011 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. paula

    @ Oprahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh ECONOMIC JUSTICE FOR ALL. Oprahhhhhhhhhhhhh Can you Hear meeeee. Oprahhhhhh I need your help. OoooooPppppRrrrrAaaaaaHhhhhh. I have a CAUSE.. JUSTICE FOR ALL MANKIND

    January 17, 2011 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. blake

    It is hard to believe that people listen to what this woman has to say. Even admire her. Very sad!

    People like Oprah, and many others in sports/Hollywood/poltics, have been turned into role models by people lacking good judgment. These "role models" who lack a working moral compass play a major role with much of what is wrong with this country today. Select someone who is worthy of admiring and aspire to be like them. Tune out the Oprahs of the world.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      ....and I thought I was on this island by myself...

      January 17, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • b cool

      It is hoped that the "moral compass" or lack thereof, in regards to Oprah is not the mistake she made when she was 14. What were you doing as a teen?

      January 17, 2011 at 11:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      b cool how dumb can you b? It is apparent he is referencing the whole oprah experience especially her talk shows as well as her personal choices.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gayle

      well said, blake!

      January 18, 2011 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
    • b cool

      Mmmmm, my comment was to Blake. His comment seemed to have included Oprah in the same category with all of the crooked politicians and atheletes. My question is why? Is it because of her "second chance"? Mmmmm myob

      January 18, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  4. Mmmmm

    need I say more?

    January 17, 2011 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. DJ

    After listening to the complete interview, it is plain to see how really selfish this woman is. She only wants to do things for others on her terms.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:10 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bilbo Baggins

    When I was 14, I was president of the Davy Jones' fan club!

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

      You never sent my membership card

      January 18, 2011 at 1:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. Frank

    What a sorry way to come across. I don't care how old she was....she said it now. A second chance at HER life thanks to her child's death. What a gem. Yet people still admire this woman? Hey I got a real hero for ya....Mother Teresa. She gave up HER life for thousands of children with no hope at theirs. Point taken Oprah lovers???

    January 17, 2011 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
  8. p

    I hope some of the really angry posters here will stop and think about the living arrangements in her life. With a father who laid down the law and told her he'd rather see her dead than pregnant, can you wonder that pregnancy seemed such a horrific thing? Teens have always made poor choices, and probably always will, but to think of killing yourself because it would be better than shaming your family...that's a terrible way to grow up.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Robbiek77

      Yet, withthis revelation of this act she did not repent of her actions, but denied Christ as saviour and did not repent of her sin. Rather, came in chaootz with her Spiritual guru Tolle, and formed their own enlightment church. Denysing Christ is the ONLY way to heaven. This woman is not to be mired, nor looked upon nor idolised. For this false prophet will only lead to destruction.

      January 18, 2011 at 1:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. dick one

    No matter what happened or how rich she is today she should at least feel sorry for that baby issue. Indeed, saying that losing the baby was her second chance trust me God will punish her before long

    January 17, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • b cool

      For all of you whom are missing your parents, or you are not good parents yourself, please find closure in this baby issue. Her baby has died 40+ years ago, she has been able to find peace within herself with that and she has given tremendously to other's, kid's included.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  10. GeorgiaMother

    So, why didn't you post my original comment? To be fair, you should post every comment!

    January 17, 2011 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  11. natty

    What I got from this is that Oprah self aborted her baby by drinking soap and other things.

    I admire how far she has gotten in her life, but just because you have a baby doesn't mean that you can't be happy or sucessful, still.

    I feel sorry for her that she feels that losing her baby was the best thing for her.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Linda

    It is very sad that she still sees it as "the baby" and that it gave her a second chance. It is too bad that she doesn't see that losing the baby didn't necessarily change her life for the better (just for the richer). Too bad that she doesn't realized that the baby could have been a blessing.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Andy

    This celebrity catharsis is no different than a 15 year old, Tweeting to her friends (and everyone else in the world), except Oprah is much older and the recipients, who apparently hang on every word, seem to have no lives of their own. Sad.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
  14. zachary

    Nope its publicity for when she starts her new show. Speculation that might have not been a big deal while she had a well established show and brand is probably not going to fly when she tries to launch her own channel and start a brand new, unproven show. Nice try at stabbing in the dark though.

    January 17, 2011 at 11:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. lisalisa

    I'm sorry everyone for my bitterness towards all of you. I worship Oprah and the ground she walks on because she is just like me. A North American Pavement Ape that belongs in a zoo/cage! You see, I am a ghetto nig and have my kids that I wish would have died because their crack head nig dad is worthless like me. At least I get my state aid! Thank you my white people for being kind enough to take care of us black worthless fools. I know we complain about slavery and stuff, but you're paying for it now because of our low-class, lazy, violent ways. Like me, Oprah is a DISGUSTING sub-human, from a DISGUSTING black race!

    January 17, 2011 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • b cool

      Get back in your cage ignoramus. I can't believe I just responded to that.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • AJ

      Whoa. And on a day where we recognize a man who proposed peace and equality for all people..... *shaking head*

      Congrats!! You have managed to let everyone know that you think you are a freaking loser, so much of one that you have to denigrate a famous person you don't know, as well as a group of people – because you think it's easier to talk down about someone than flipping get along. Climb back under your rock, subhuman troll.

      January 17, 2011 at 11:50 pm | Report abuse |
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