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‘I Turned to Her and Said, ‘Now I Need to Talk to You’’: Mo’Nique Shares Story of How She Contronted Oprah Winfrey at Party for Lupita Nyong’o Years Ago

Mo’Nique has been in a few high-profile feuds throughout her time in the industry. 

While her 13-year quarrel with film producer Lee Daniels reached a common ground after he apologized on stage in Staten Island, the actress’ relationship with her once good friend, Oprah Winfrey, is still not perfectly mended.

During Mo’Nique’s recent profile interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the star recounted the start of the imbroglio. 

Mo'Nique workout Janet Jackson
Mo’Nique is waiting on a public apology from Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. (Photo: @therealmoworldwide)

It all began in 2009 after filming for “Precious” concluded and the press tour began. Mo’Nique faced backlash from Daniels, who directed the movie, as well as from Tyler Perry and Winfrey – who helped produce the movie – following her decision to skip out on the Cannes Film Festival. 

“I said, ‘Oprah, I’m doing a talk show. I’m doing a comedy tour. I have a husband and I have babies. I have a little bit of downtime and I’m going to take advantage of it,” she told THR. 

Mo’Nique made it very clear that was not going to be swayed from her decision, prompting her and Winfrey to “mutually agree to disagree.”

However, before the comedian knew it, she was slowly becoming blackballed, she claims.

“Next thing I know, I am considered ‘difficult’ and ‘hard to work with.’” 

As the interview continued, Mo’Nique further explained that her absence at the Film Festival was because she wanted to spend time with her family. 

“This was my third marriage,” she confessed. “My second round of children. So, I understood by then that what you sacrifice everything for a place called Hollywood, you wind up by yourself.”

Though she was advised that missing the “Precious” press tour wouldn’t work out in her favor, Mo’Nique ended up winning thr Best Supporting Actress Oscar at the 87th Academy Awards. During her speech, Mo’Nique mentioned Winfrey and Perry, but not Daniels. This ultimately led to their years-long feud. 

While the two have now since let bygones be bygones, Mo’Nique and Winfrey’s relationship seems to be the one that is currently strained.

Mo’Nique’s animosity towards Winfrey began in 2010 after the journalist interviewed Mo’Nique’s family on an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”

As she spoke to THR, the 55-year-old admitted that Winfrey informed her about her older brother, Gerald Imes, reaching out to be on the show. 

Imes sexually abused Mo’Nique for years throughout her childhood and wanted to let Winfrey know how parents can spot a predator. 

“She then said ‘Do you want to come on the show, because he wanted to apologize to you?’ I said, ‘Oprah, I don’t want no part of that,’” Mo’Nique recalled. 

Even though Mo’Nique rejected Winfrey’s offer, she gave her blessing for her brother to join the show. However, when the episode aired, Mo’Nique was mortified to learn that her entire family had been welcomed on the show. 

Mo’Nique’s mother, Alice Imes, her father, Gerald Imes Sr., and her second brother, Stephen Imes, downplayed her abuse and stated that it had been, “blown out of proportion.”

According to Mo’Nique, she felt betrayed by Winfrey because the 69-year-old was well aware that she was not “on good terms” with her mother. 

“I reached out to everybody I could to try to get to Oprah,” Mo’Nique said, “No. Nothing. It just went dead.”

That was until 2014 when the two ladies came face to face again at a party for actress Lupita Nyong’o in honor of her Academy Award nomination for “Best Supporting Actress” in Steve McQueen’s film “12 Years a Slave.”

“They invited you if you were a Black woman who had won or been nominated for an Oscar,” Mo’Nique explained.

While in attendance, Mo’Nique spotted Winfrey sitting down on a sofa and decided to sit next to her, “I said ‘You know we’re going to have to talk, right? She said, ‘Mm-hmm.’ And I just patted her on her knee and got up.”

Later that night, it was time for the women to tell Nyong’o their experience within the industry. As it became Mo’Nique’s turn, she made sure to keep it sweet and simple. 

“I said, ‘Lupita, run your race the way you want to run it, baby,’” once she was finished, Mo’Nique brought her attention to Winfrey. 

“I turned to her and said, ‘Now I need to talk to you.’ There were some phenomenal Black women there. You could hear a pin drop. I said, ‘Since you didn’t want to return my calls, for whatever reason, I’m going to say this right here.’”

According to THR, Mo’Nique asked Winfrey why she invited her parents on the show knowing that they do not have the best relationship. Though Mo’Nique believes her response was a lie, Winfrey stated that she had no idea her entire family was showing up. 

“I’m going to look into your mother and father being on the show, because I didn’t know anything about that,” Winfrey supposedly said, “If I had done anything to offend you, I apologize.”

Though Winfrey apologized, the two ladies have not been seen together for years. It was also reported that Winfrey declined THR’s offer to comment on the piece.
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