Oprah Winfrey's Stepmom Claims the Media Mogul Left Her Homeless

Oprah WinfreyThere are shocking tell-all confessionals, and then there are shocking tell-all confessionals. This is one of those latter ones. In a stunning interview, Oprah Winfrey's ex-stepmother opened up about the truth about what happens behind closed doors in the star's seemingly perfectly polished life.

Turns out it's not all sunshine and roses at whichever one of Oprah's many estates she's calling home today. The media mogul owns homes in Hawaii, Santa Barbara, Indiana, the Bahamas, and Chicago -- and one just south of Nashville that she bought for her dad and his new wife Barbara after their wedding in 2000. Oprah is now having Barbara evicted from her home in the aftermath of a very messy divorce.


Barbara claims she had no idea that Oprah's company owned the deed, and that she thought it had been a proper gift to her and Vernon. "It was a new home so we got to choose every part of it. We signed so many documents, became part of the Housing Association," she said. "I was thankful of course. I never knew it was Oprah’s name on the deeds and that I was just on probation."

It was a probation that apparently started at their first meeting, a few weeks before the wedding that made Oprah her stepdaughter. Barbara describes a chilly reception, followed by an interrogation the next morning by Oprah and her bestie Gayle King.

"We drove from Nashville to Prairie, Indiana and when you pull up at her house it’s like pulling up to a castle. But that first night she didn’t have anything to say to us hardly at all. She wasn’t warm at all," she commented, before going on to describe a bizarre get-to-know-you walk around the estate.

"Early the next morning she got on the intercom in her house – she has an intercom in all her houses - and she was calling, 'Barbara, Barbara come down, we’re going for a walk.'

"Gayle was there and the way it worked she walked on one side, Oprah on the other and they peppered me with questions. I felt like I was being interrogated by the FBI. She had a large farm, about 125 acres. By the end of the walk I felt we’d covered the whole farm."

She also describes several times over the years when Oprah has been less than cordial to her dad and her, including relegating them to a second floor corner at her famed Legends' Ball in Santa Barbara. "We weren’t allowed to mingle with the celebrities -- but we did," she admitted.

There was apparently another incident when Vernon and Barbara arrived at Oprah's Chicago condo. "Oprah got on the intercom and announced, 'Negroes in the house. Negroes in the house.' She thought it was funny. I thought it was insulting. I’m older than her. I know what it means. She was reminding us of our low class." What the? I don't even know how to process this information.

Barbara claims that Oprah's generosity is all an act, and it's all about control with her. She explained, "My husband once told me that just because someone gives you something does not mean they love you. He was talking about Oprah ... her brand is that she’s a nice, caring, generous, giving person. That’s not how it is. She’s controlling -- it’s all about control."

She also said, "She has confidentiality agreements with pretty much everybody in her life. She has them sign their life away and she has them in her pocket. Everything comes with stipulations but she doesn’t tell you that and she doesn’t tell you what they are."

And in one particularly vindictive comment: "Some people can have money and be mentally rich 11 secure in what they have I guess. But others, how can I put it … some people you can’t take the ghetto out of. That’s Oprah, it’s who she is and where she’s from. She had money, everybody was going to know it and see it. But she had to be in control."

Oh my. Someone that knows Oprah personally, a family member, just called her ghetto. Let that sink in for a bit. Barbara also details Oprah's horrible taste in decorating (200 dolls lined up in hallways??), her complaints that her parents coffee mugs and bath towels were too small, and the regularity of her phone calls to Gayle asking her to fire someone without explanation. She sounds like a peach, and not at all like the polished person we see in public.

So why is Barbara talking? It goes back to her marital home that she's being evicted from. Barbara had maintained another property for most of her marriage, but decided to mortgage it to help revamp Vernon's barber shop, a community fixture for more than 50 years. When they couldn't make the payments, Oprah advised her father to let it foreclose ... then she swooped in and purchased it.

As part of the divorce settlement proposal in 2012, Oprah offered to let Barbara keep the much smaller home, where her daughter and 5-year-old grandson were living. She said, "The settlement they offered was the house that I had owned but lost, the car I’d had since 2004, with 110,000 miles on the clock and I had to sign a confidentiality agreement ... Vernon also asked for a chunk of my pension because he claimed I was the main earner in the household."

Unwilling to sign or settle, Barbara claims Oprah had her vengeance by kicking her family out on the street. "That house lay empty and then it was sold. Tell me, what sort of person does that?  I would have walked away quietly but she put my baby and my grandbaby out on the street. That made it personal."

Personal indeed. Sounds like Barbara has a lot of bitterness toward Oprah, who she blames for the destruction of her marriage. Even though Vernon cheated on her with a hooker known as "One Tooth," Barbara still wanted to work on the marriage. She said Vernon was too swayed by his famous daughter, who has apparently never liked her much.

Barbara asked furiously, "Vernon and I were joined by God. Who does she think she is to interfere in that? Does she think she’s God?"

She might. She certainly has more money than God. Sounds like she should have parted with a bit more of it to get Barbara to sign that confidentiality agreement -- but something tells me she would've rejected any amount.

Do you think Barbara Winfrey's perception of Oprah is believable?

Image via Oprah Winfrey/Instagram

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