Oprah Winfrey reveals why she never got married: 'I didn’t want the sacrifices'

Chat show host has been in a relationship with Stedman Graham since 1986

Sarah Young
Thursday 16 January 2020 10:28 GMT

Oprah Winfrey has revealed why she never married her partner, despite them being together for more than 30 years.

In an essay published in O Magazine, the media mogul opened up about her relationship with Stedman Graham, who proposed in 1993.

The 65-year-old said that there is a good reason the couple never tied the knot, admitting that she had doubts shortly after they got engaged.

“I realised I didn’t actually want a marriage,” Winfrey wrote.

“I wanted to be asked. I wanted to know he felt I was worthy of being his missus, but I didn’t want the sacrifices, the compromises, the day-in-day-out commitment required to make a marriage work. My life with the show was my priority, and we both knew it.”

The chat show host went on to explain that both she and Graham believe that if they had got married they would not still be together.

Instead, Winfrey attributes the longevity of their relationship to Graham having an identity beyond being “Oprah's man,” as well as the fact that they “relish seeing the other fulfil and manifest their destiny and purpose.”

“Anyone who’s ever met him is always amazed by what a genuine gentleman he is,” Winfrey wrote.

“He’s so positive. Wants the best for me and everyone he knows. He’s appropriately named because he’s steady as a mountain. Even-tempered, accountable, trustworthy, patient.”

The author went on to reveal that she defines her relationship with Stedman as a “spiritual partnership”, citing spiritual teacher Gary Zukav's definition of the term, which is a “partnership between equals for the purpose of spiritual growth”.

This isn’t the first time Winfrey has spoken about her decision to not marry or have children.

Last year, the philanthropist explained that much of the reason she decided against expanding her family was because she witnessed “the depth of responsibility and sacrifice that is actually required to be a mother” during her years on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

“I realised, ‘Whoa, I’m talking to a lot of messed-up people, and they are messed up because they had mothers and fathers who were not aware of how serious that job is,'” Winfrey told People magazine.

“I don’t have the ability to compartmentalise the way I see other women do. It is why, throughout my years, I have had the highest regard for women who choose to be at home [with] their kids, because I don’t know how you do that all day long.

“Nobody gives women the credit they deserve.”

Winfrey added that she has “no regrets” about her decision, adding that she has “filled that maternal fold” with charitable work.

“I also believe that part of the reason why I don’t have regrets is because I got to fulfil it in the way that was best for me: the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa,” she says.

“Those girls fill that maternal fold that I perhaps would have had. In fact, they overfill — I’m overflowed with maternal."

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