In what she called a “beloved moment,” Oprah tearfully introduced a half sister she learned about last October to the world yesterday on her TV show.
“I was shocked to find out that I have another sister living 90 minutes away,” Oprah, 56, said. “My mother never told anyone of us that she had given up a baby for adoption” in 1963.
Patricia was born to Vernita Lee when Oprah was nine and living with her father. Lee said she left her newborn at a Milwaukee hospital because she “wasn’t able to take care of her.”
Patricia was in foster care until age seven, when she was adopted, but she said life was “difficult.” She said “it hurt” that Lee rejected two requests to meet her.
The world’s first female black billionaire’s eyes welled up when she noted that Patricia and her adult children, Aquarius, and Andre, had known they were related to her since 2007, but never went public. It is rare indeed, said Oprah, to be in the public eye and not have people “betray you and take advantage of you.”
“It’s family business and needs to be handled by family,” said her soft-spoken half-sister.
In a bizarre coincidence, Oprah had another half-sister, also named Patricia (Lloyd) who also lived in Milwaukee, but who died of a drug overdose in 2003. Patricia Lloyd had taken money from tabloids to dish details of Oprah’s childhood, revealing that Oprah had a baby at age 14, who died within days. Oprah’s half-brother Jeffrey Lee died of AIDS in 1988, and Oprah believed she had no surviving siblings.
Oprah said she met her newly revealed half sister for the first time on Thanksgiving Day. As Patricia Lloyd forced Oprah to release shame over her teenage pregnancy, Patricia released Lee from the shame of being an unwed mother in 1963, Oprah said. “Freedom to all – that’s what you brought into our lives,” Oprah told her new found sister.