We all know Oprah Winfrey as the wildly successful and famous talk show host. Oprah’s life wasn’t always quite so grand, however. What many don’t know is that the self-made billionaire had a baby at just 14 years old. This is how she rose from an abusive and difficult upbringing to the star she is today.
Oprah Winfrey Had A Baby At Just 14 Years Old
Oprah Winfrey does not come from a fortunate past. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The Missouri native was sexually abused by her own family members. Her 19-year-old cousin was the first to rape her when Oprah was just nine years old. The abuse continued for the next four years, not just by this cousin, but from two other family members as well. At just 14 years old, the now-famous TV talk show host and O Network owner became pregnant. (1)
“I was so ashamed, I hid the pregnancy until my swollen ankles and belly gave me away.” Oprah said.
The young teenager was incredibly fearful. Scared that she would get expelled from school and terrified of what her life would become. She gave birth prematurely, but the baby died not long after in the hospital. Her father, who her mother had now sent her to live with, told right there in the hospital that this was a start of a new beginning for her – that she had, in a way, been given another chance. (2)
“My father said to me at that time what I’m going to say to you: ‘What you have done is in the past and you alone get to determine what your future will be,’ ”
The Fear Stayed
From that moment onward, Oprah was determined to make something bigger of herself. Despite her drive and determination, however, her secret past terrified her the same way it did when she was first.
“I carried the secret into my future, always afraid that if anyone discovered what had happened, they, too, would expel me from their lives.” she explained.
Finally, that fateful day when everyone found out arrived. In the 1990s, her own sister sold her out to the tabloids for $19000. Oprah was sure that her career was ruined. She was certain that she would be labeled a “bad” girl and that everything she had built and was building would quickly crumble.