Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey Gave Birth at 14 & ‘Never Felt like It Was’ Her Baby

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,’ ” 

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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.

“I took to my bed and cried for three days. I felt devastated. Wounded. Betrayed. How could this person do this to me?” she wrote. “I imagined that every person on the street was going to point their finger at me and scream, ‘Pregnant at 14, you wicked girl . . . expelled!’ No one said a word, though – not strangers, not even people I knew. I was shocked. Nobody treated me differently. For 20 years, I had been expecting a reaction that never came and I soon realized that having the secret out was liberating . . . What I learned for sure was that holding the shame was the greatest burden of all.”

Opening Up About Her Past

That’s when Oprah decided to open up in her magazine and on her TV about her dark past. She realized that hiding it was only hurting herself. Sharing her story meant that she could further inspire others who have had similar tragic childhoods. Perhaps people would hear her story and realize that they, too, can overcome their past.

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Oprah’s “Daughters

Oprah never went on to have any children after that. She explained that when she got married she thought she might, but then she never did. After years of talking to people who struggle immensely in their lives thanks to unprepared parents, she decided that parenthood was not for her. (3)

“I realized, ‘Whoa, I’m talking to a lot of messed-up people, and they are messed up because they had mothers and fathers who were not aware of how serious that job is,’” she said. “I don’t have the ability to compartmentalize the way I see other women do. It is why, throughout my years, I have had the highest regard for women who choose to be at home [with] their kids, because I don’t know how you do that all day long. Nobody gives women the credit they deserve.”

Instead, she continued to thrive in her extremely successful career and opened her school for impoverished girls in South Africa. Oprah lovingly refers to her students as her “daughters”, who have fulfilled any maternal needs that she may have had.

“I have not had one regret about that. I also believe that part of the reason why I don’t have regrets is because I got to fulfill it in the way that was best for me: the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa,” she explained. “Those girls fill that maternal fold that I perhaps would have had. In fact, they overfill — I’m overflowed with maternal.”

Rather than raise daughters of her own, she has used her influence and money to help make a better life for every girl who attends her school. That, for sure, is something to be celebrated.

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  1. Oprah Tears Over Baby & Back-Stab.” NY Post. Corynne Steindler. January 20, 2007.
  2. Oprah Winfrey Confirms She Had Baby In Her Teens.” Orlando Sentinel. May 5, 1990
  3. Oprah Winfrey Explains Why She Chose Not To Marry Or Have Kids: ‘I Don’t Have Regrets’.” People. Alexia Fernández and Mary Green. October 9, 2019.