Oprah Winfrey has one of the most successful careers in Hollywood and billions of dollars to fall back on. But the talk-show-host-turned-household-name made many sacrifices to get to the top, one of them being the start of a family.
During a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the OWN Network founder and creator opened up about her hard decision to pass on motherhood and why. In the interview Winfrey states: “If I had kids, my kids would hate me […] they would have ended up on the equivalent of the Oprah show talking about me; because something [in my life] would have had to suffer and it would’ve probably been them.”
What’s even more interesting is that Winfrey doesn’t seem to flinch at the thought of not having a child to care for her as she ages. Winfrey acknowledges that from a young age she would envision her future, but unlike her best friend Gayle King, being a mom wasn’t part of that vision. “Gayle [now a mother of two] was the kind of kid who, in seventh grade Home Ec class, was writing down her name and the names of her children,” she notes. “While she was having those kind of daydreams, I was having daydreams about how I could be Martin Luther King.”
Winfrey’s decision to hold off on motherhood gave her the opportunity to build an entertainment empire. But one can’t help but wonder if Winfrey’s tough childhood and the loss of her baby when she was just 14, affected her later decision to remain career-driven.
Although Winfrey says she’s never had children in mind for herself; she is still dishes out motherly advice every day. She says that she dedicates a great deal of time to the students attending the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, the school just south of Johannesburg that she opened in 2007 and to which she has contributed more than $100 million. She begins her day every morning at 7:30 a.m. (no alarm clock needed!) by exchanging emails with the girls.
“I’m responding to everything from ‘I’m feeling lost’ to ‘I need advice about a boy,'” she shared.
The busy OWN boss also makes time to visit the school twice a year, and she most recently opened up her Montecito, Calif., home for a Thanksgiving dinner with former students who are attending U.S. universities.
She also offered advice to new talk-show hosts like Steve Harvey and Queen Latifah.
“Don’t do it until you have 100 percent creative control to be yourself,” she says. When she sensed that Harvey was straying, she called him up and told him, “I saw you in a chocolate factory trying to do that routine that Lucy and Ethel did. That’s not you. Don’t let people talk you into what they think is you.
“When [my producers] called me in and said, ‘I know, we could take the audience to outer space,’ I knew it was time to go.”