“Patricia is my half-sister who I never knew existed,” television host Oprah Winfrey announced on an episode of “The Oprah Winfrey Show” that aired Monday.
Winfrey sparked buzz over the weekend when she said she’d be announcing a family secret on her next show.
“I was given some news that literally shook me to my core. This time, I’m the one being reunited,” Winfrey said prior to the airing of Monday’s episode. “I was keeping a family secret for months, and on Monday you’re going to hear it straight from me.”
Winfrey’s half-sister Patricia’s last name has not been released, but she was given up for adoption by Winfrey’s mother, Vernita Lee, when Oprah was 9 years old, USA Today reported Monday. Oprah says she was unaware that her mother had given up a baby while she was living with her father in Tennessee.
“Oh my God, I have a family,” was Patricia’s reaction when she learned she had three siblings, the only one alive being Oprah.
Winfrey said she heard about “a bombshell family secret” over Thanksgiving. Because the story would have been heavily publicized and eventually “exploited,” Winfrey said, “I wanted you to hear it from me first.”
Patricia said everything started to come full circle in 2007 when she saw her mother in a television interview discussing her three acknowledged children. Patricia’s son, Andre, surfed the internet and tracked down the birthdates of Patricia’s siblings, including Winfrey.
“We realized that Oprah could be my sister,” Patricia said.