Oprah Didn’t Want to Have Babies But That Didn’t Stop Her From Being Maternal: ‘I Feel Like I Am a Mother to the World’s Children’

Oprah Winfrey is a media mogul and the head of an empire that spans everything from television programming to ready-to-eat meals and book clubs.

Winfrey has been in the spotlight for most of her life, after working hard to become a talk show host and celebrity interviewer. These days, Winfrey is still making waves and even though she is of retirement age, she shows no signs of slowing down. While Winfrey has never shied away from a challenge, she has chosen to remain childless, and in a 2017 interview, the media queen talked about her decision to not have any babies of her own. 

Oprah Winfrey rose to fame for her wildly successful talk show

OPRAH WINFREY | ABC via Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey got started in journalism early, and by the time she was 19, she had become a co-anchor for a local evening news station. Winfrey received praise for her compassionate way of reporting the news and for her particularly empathic ability to deliver human interest stories in an intriguing way. After a few years as a news co-host, Winfrey was given her own talk show, and in 1986, she launched The Oprah Winfrey Show

Winfrey’s show became wildly successful and in short order, she launched her own production company. In the years that followed, Winfrey was able to work on many business ventures, from opportunities in acting and media to supporting political causes that she believes in. Winfrey has received many awards over the years, from the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award to two Primetime Emmy Awards — and these days, she is known around the world as one of the most iconic figures in pop culture. 

Oprah Winfrey has never been married

Oprah Winfrey has always prioritized her work, making her a champion for women’s rights. Still, she has had one great love in her life, her longtime partner, businessman Stedman Graham. The two first met in 1986 and have been together ever since. Although Graham and Winfrey were once engaged, the two decided that they would never marry, choosing instead to remain in what Winfrey once coined a “spiritual partnership.”

Graham and Winfrey support each other tirelessly and Graham often appears alongside his media mogul girlfriend at many high-profile events. While Graham has a daughter from a previous marriage, he and Winfrey have never had children together. As Winfrey has revealed, she doesn’t regret her decision to remain child-free. 

What did Oprah Winfrey say about never having children?


Does Oprah Winfrey Believe in Marriage?

In a 2017 interview with Good Housekeeping U.K., Oprah Winfrey stated that she has found the perfect maternal outlet. As reported by People Magazine, Winfrey said that her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa was a “perfect” fit for her: “It is more rewarding than I would ever have imagined. I was doing this to help them, but it has brought a light to my life that I can’t explain … When people were pressuring me to get married and have children, I knew I was not going to be a person that ever regretted not having them, because I feel like I am a mother to the world’s children.”

Winfrey went on to detail how “love knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter if a child came from your womb or if you found that person at age two, 10 or 20…I wouldn’t have been a good mom for babies. I don’t have the patience.” She called out her work at the girl’s school as “rewarding” — and there’s no doubt that the countless young women she’s helped feel the exact same way.