The billionaire met Mr. Graham in 1986, and Oprah considered being a mother during a short window of time when they were engaged.
“At one point in Chicago I had bought an additional apartment because I was thinking, ‘Well, if we get married, I’m going to need room for children,’” said. Winfrey.
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But the appeal of having kids started to fade into the background, as the 65-year-old reflected on the “the depth of responsibility and sacrifice that is actually required to be a mother.”
Having guests on her iconic “Oprah Winfrey Show,” who didn’t do the best job at parenting, made Oprah take a mirror to herself and her own boundaries.
“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.”
Oprah didn’t want to make sacrifices as a mama, or a wife either.
“I used to think about this all the time, that I was working these 17-hour days, and so were my producers, and then I go home and I have my two dogs and I have Stedman, who’s letting me be who I need to be in the world. He’s never demanding anything from me like, ‘Where’s my breakfast? Where’s my dinner?’ Never any of that, which I believed would have changed had we married.”
Looking back, both partners agree that marriage would’ve been the deathknelll of their union.
“Both he and I now say, ‘If we had married, we would not be together,’” she adds. “No question about it — we would not stay married, because of what that would have meant to him, and I would have had my own ideas about it.”
Winfrey may not have any biological children, but she is “mama” to the many girls in her Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy. Because of her connection with girls worldwide, Oprah has no qualms about her decision.
“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 said. “Those girls fill that maternal fold that I perhaps would have had. In fact, they overfill — I’m overflowed with maternal.”
This story was originally published on MadameNoire.com.
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