12 Shocking Secrets Spilled to Oprah

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There’s a reason Oprah is one of the world’s most famous television personalities: She gets celebrities to crack faster than Anonymous can crack Shirley Phelps-Roper’s Twitter password. Lance Armstrong isn’t the first to admit a shocking secret beneath Oprah’s sympathetic gaze. Here are 12 other stunners that came to light in Harpo Studios.

1. Whitney Houston admits that she didn’t think crack was so wack.

After denying a drug problem in a 2002 interview with Diane Sawyer—the source of the infamous “crack is wack” declaration—Whitney Houston came clean to Oprah seven years later. She said her drug of choice was marijuana mixed with rock cocaine, a.k.a. crack.

She starts talking about her heavy drug use around the 29-minute mark.

2. Michael Jackson reveals that he’s suffering from vitiligo.

After years of public speculation that he was bleaching his skin for cosmetic reasons, Michael Jackson finally explained that he was actually suffering from vitiligo, a disease that causes depigmentation of the skin. During the most-watched interview in television history, the King of Pop also confessed that he had, in fact, had plastic surgery—but not as much as everyone assumed.

3. Rihanna says Chris Brown is the love of her life.

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When photos surfaced of how badly Chris Brown beat Rihanna after a pre-Grammy party in 2009, almost the whole world turned against him. Over time, though, it became clear that Rihanna was still seeing her attacker. In an interview with Oprah last year, she stunned the world (sort of) by saying she was, indeed, still in love with him. Soon afterward, she began posting pictures on Instagram and Twitter of the two of them hanging out in intimate settings.

4. David Letterman talks about his sex scandal and his struggles with depression.

For years, Letterman and Winfrey could have been synonymous with Hatfield and McCoy. They’ve since buried that hatchet, so much so that Dave went on Oprah earlier this year to talk candidly about the sex scandal that rocked his marriage in 2009. He also opened up about a six-month period of depression where he found it difficult to even get out of bed.

5. Mackenzie Phillips confesses to having sex with her father for many years.

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In 2009, Mackenzie Phillips, former child star of One Day at a Time, went on Oprah to talk about her autobiography. She read an excerpt from the book about her father raping her when she was just 18, and said that she continued to have sex with him for years afterward, including after she was married.

6. James Frey tells Oprah he made up stuff in his memoir.

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After getting the coveted Oprah Book Club bump, author James Frey was outed as a fraud when The Smoking Gun discovered the book was mostly fiction. Oprah, as you might imagine, was displeased. She invited him back on the show to explain himself—or, more accurately, to rip him a new one for deceiving her and her legions of followers.

Read the whole interview here.

7. Lisa Marie Presley talks about her marriage to Michael Jackson.

In a sit-down after her ex-husband’s death, Lisa Marie Presley chatted about the authenticity of their marriage. She also mentioned that she thought there was suspicious drug use going on while the two were married.

8. Oprah talks about her own experience with child abuse.

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In 1986, during a show about sex abuse, Oprah told everyone that she had been molested by a 19-year-old relative when she was just 9.

9. Mo’Nique’s brother admits to molesting her as a child.

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Although comedian Mo’Nique had always been outspoken about the childhood sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her brother, he continually denied it. Until his visit to Oprah in 2010, that is.

“I'm here today to first acknowledge what I've been in denial for for 37 years, and that is I did assault and inappropriately touch my sister in manners that were uncomfortable for her," Gerald said. "And for that, I apologize and I'm humbly sorry that those actions had taken place."

10. Ted Haggard confesses a lot of stuff.

Ted Haggard was once one of the world’s foremost evangelical leaders and even advised George W. Bush on a weekly basis. So it was quite the shock when he went on Oprah and announced that all of the rumors were true—he had cheated on his wife with a male escort and was also dabbling with drugs.

11. A fresh-from-prison Marion Jones talks about her steroid use.


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After spending six months in prison for lying to federal agents about using performance-enhancing drugs, the five-time Olympic medalist talked to O about why she did it—and why she lied.

12. Stephen Colbert opens up about the plane crash that killed his father and two brothers.

Most of the time, we see Stephen Colbert the character. So when Oprah managed to get Stephen Colbert the man to come on her show, that in and of itself was quite the get. What may have surprised people the most, however, was when he opened up about the Eastern Airlines crash in 1974 that killed his father and brothers when he was just 10 years old.

The biggest interview eluding Oprah? O.J. Simpson. Word has it that she was pushing O.J. to come on her show to confess to the murder of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. Thus far, O.J. has refused, believing that Oprah is the reason he’s in jail right now. His promoter says O.J. is upset with Oprah for not allowing anyone who was on his side to come on her show and defend him.

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January 17, 2013 - 3:20pm
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