Spoiler: Oprah's 'Shocking Family Secret' Revealed to Be Not So Shocking
When Oprah Winfrey teased that she would be revealing a "shocking family secret" on Monday's show, I expected a grotesque Mackenzie Phillips-like disclosure accompanied by fireworks, a John Travolta-led drum line and a 20-minute free-form speech on "hope." (How can you blame me? These are the kinds of theatrics Oprah has conditioned us to expect.) Alas, viewers at this morning's taping in Chicago had to settle for the introduction of a previously unknown Oprah family member and plain old tears (boring!). Details ahead, but no new cars.
According to Us, Winfrey's mother gave birth to a daughter in 1963, when Oprah was 9 years old and living with her father Vernon; Oprah's half-sister Patricia was given up for adoption and spent years searching for the identity of her mother. In 2007, Patricia realized that her half-sister was Oprah Winfrey and the pair finally met in November.
OK, so Oprah has a half-sister. After Oprah helped coax Whitney Houston into discussing her crack addiction, Jay Leno into talking about ConanGate and the aforementioned Mackenzie Phillips into disclosing a damning family secret, this feels a bit enh. But why, if Oprah has known about this half-sister since November (a sister who did not sell her story for three years and presumably would not threaten to do so now), is Oprah making this announcement now? The not-so-obvious conclusion: to help revive interest in her brand and save those plummeting ratings that she does not care about. As conniving as that may seem and as used as I may feel in this publicity stunt, I would totally be down for watching a series about Oprah getting to know her small-town Minnesota half-sister, or even better, the two competing on Amazing Race.
· SPOILER: Find Out Oprah's Shocking Family Secret [Us Weekly]