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Oprah: Vernita Lee and Secret Half Sister Patricia

Posted by on January 24, 2011 at 8:12 PM EST

oprah secret sisterVernita Lee, mother of Oprah Winfrey is in fact the parent of Patricia, Oprah’s secret sister.

On her Monday morning show, Oprah made the shocking announcement that she has a sister that she never even knew about. The superstar talk show host chose to release this information herself so the tabloids would not exploit and warp the information.  The secret sibling is Patricia, a mother of two from Milwaukee who had been put up for adoption at birth.

Their mother, Vernita Lee, chose to not meet her when Patricia reached out to her. This was probably because Oprah had another half-sister also named Patricia who had hurt Oprah in the past by going to the tabloids, and who had died from drug abuse.  It sounds like something from a soap opera and will doubtlessly be elaborated on, should Oprah choose to write another book.

Oprah has expressed a great deal of emotion about being able to find the sister she never even knew she had, explaining, “She never once thought to go to the press…She never once thought to sell this story.” Oprah has also remarked about the resemblance between her two half sisters, and how the good characteristics of her deceased sibling can be seen in the living Patricia, as well. On the show Oprah spoke to Patricia and said, “For me, you are Pat on her very best day…You are who she wanted to be without the drugs.”

Patricia found out that she was related to Oprah by having a DNA test with Oprah’s niece, after listening to Oprah’s show and finding that the information that Vernita shared matched up with what she knew about her birth mother. Upon confirmation that Patricia was the aunt of Oprah’s niece, the family contacted Oprah and told her the shocking news.

Oprah visited with partner Stedman Graham on Thankgsiving Day to meet Patricia for the first time, and the two have been in close contact ever since.



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