Arts and Entertainment
Oprah Winfrey’s mother dead at 83
Talk show host-producer-philanthropist Oprah Winfrey’s mother Vernita Lee is dead. She was 83.
Oprah released a statement on her mother’s death, saying, “Thank you all for your kind words and condolences regarding my mother Vernita Lee’s passing. It gives our family great comfort knowing she lived a good life and is now at Peace.”
Oprah’s niece, Alisha Hayes, posted that Lee died on Thanksgiving Day, reports tmz.com.
Lee was born in 1935 in segregated Mississippi. She met Vernon Winfrey and they gave birth to Oprah in 1954.
Lee couldn’t raise Oprah because she moved to Milwaukee where she worked as a housemaid.
Oprah was raised early on by her maternal grandmother. When Oprah turned 6, she moved to Milwaukee to live with her mother.
Oprah says her relationship with her mother was rocky because of the long separation.
“I was asking the question … what is a mother? What are you supposed to feel about your mother?”
Oprah was living with her mother when she was molested by her cousin and abused by an uncle.
Lee had another child in 1963 and gave her up for adoption. Oprah had not met her half-sister Patricia until 2010 and said she was shocked to learn about her long-lost sibling. Oprah paid for her college education.
Lee had a son, Jeffrey, who died in 1989 from AIDS. Oprah and Jeffrey reportedly had a difficult relationship.