Oprah’s huge family secret was revealed on Monday: she has a half-sister named Patricia.
Vernita Lee, Oprah’s mother, gave Patricia up for adoption in 1963, but kept her a secret from her daughter. Oprah was nine years old and living with her father when her mother had the baby. She said she never even knew Vernita was pregnant.
Oprah and Patricia were publicly reunited on Monday’s show. Oprah showed video of her and her partner, Steadman Graham, driving to Milwaukee to meet Patricia for the first time on Thanksgiving Day last year.
Patricia said she started thinking that Oprah might be her sister when she saw an interview with Vernita Lee on television. The information Lee gave coincided with what she knew about her birth family.
She tried to track down her birth mother, but was told by the adoption that the mother did not want to get in touch with her. But Patricia did manage to track down Oprah’s niece, and DNA tests confirmed that they were related. This led to Oprah confronting her mother, who confirmed that Patricia was indeed her half sister. Vernita Lee also appeared on Monday’s show.