25. When official book club selection A Million Little Pieces was proven to be a fabrication by author James Frey in 2006, Oprah brought the author and his publisher Nan Talese onto her show to publicly chastise them. She told James that by fabricating part of his purported true story of addiction and recover, he'd "betrayed millions of readers," before forcing Nan to admit that she'd not done anything to fact-check the book heralded as "brutally honest" in its press release. Three years later, Oprah would apologize to James for confronting him so publicly.
26. After a 1996 episode about mad cow disease in which Oprah claimed she'd been stopped cold from ever eating another burger, she and her guest Howard Lyman found themselves sued by Texas cattleman in 1998 for "false defamation of perishable food" and "business disparagement." The claim argued that Oprah's comments had caused cattle prices to fall, costing beef producers $11 million. After jurors sided with her and rejected the lawsuit, Oprah said, "Free speech not only lives, it rocks," adding, "I'm still off hamburgers."
27. In preparation for the trial, Oprah hired the services of Phil McGraw and his legal consulting firm Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (the inspiration for the current CBS drama Bull) to help her analyze the jury. After her victory, she was so impressed with his services that she invited him on her show. So, what we're saying is that you have Texas cattle farmers to thank for the Dr. Phil show.
28. The popularity of The Oprah Winfrey Show in its heyday is also responsible for launching (or boosting) the careers of Dr. Oz, Rachael Ray, Iyanla Vanzant, Nate Berkus, Suze Orman, and, of course, BFF Gayle King.
29. When Ellen DeGeneres chose Oprah's show to publicly come out as a lesbian in 1997, just before her character on her sitcom did the same to her therapist, played by the talk show host, it earned Oprah some not-so-positive reactions. "I played the therapist on that show... and got the most and worst hate mail of my entire career after doing it, like 'Go back to Africa' hate mail," she admitted in a 2013 episode of her show Oprah's Next Chapter.
30. After the Ellen moment, Oprah and Gayle began facing never-ending rumors that they are gay. In the August 2006 issue of O magazine, she shut the chatter down once and for all. "I understand why people think we're gay", she wrote "There isn't a definition in our culture for this kind of bond between women. So I get why people have to label it—how can you be this close without it being sexual? I've told nearly everything there is to tell. All my stuff is out there. People think I'd be so ashamed of being gay that I wouldn't admit it? Oh, please."
31. By 2000, after winning a combined 15 Daytime Emmy Awards, she refrained from submitting the show for any further consideration, hoping to make room for others to be nominated.
32. In 2003, Oprah joined Forbes' list of The World's Billionaires, as the first black female billionaire in the world. From 2004-06, she was the only black billionaire in the world. As of today, her net worth is estimated at $3.1 billion.
33. According to biographer Kitty Kelley's 2010 tome on Oprah, she and John Tesh had a short-lived relationship in Nashville in the 1970s. As the report alleged, they lived together until the future Entertainment Tonight host bolted in the middle of the night, caving to the social pressures of being in an interracial couple.
34. Oprah met boyfriend Stedman Graham in 1986, the same year that her talk show went national. The couple got engaged in 1992, but have famously never tied the knot. "The truth of the matter is, had we gotten married we wouldn't be together now, because in no way is this a traditional relationship," she told Essence in 2003.
35. A fan of the Oxygen network? You have Oprah to thank for that. In 1998, she teamed up with former Nickelodeon executive Geraldine Laybourne and producers Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner, and Caryn Mandabach as founders of Oxygen Media. Their cable network was launched two years later. In 2007, NBC Universal purchased the network for $925 million.
36. In 2004, Oprah famously gave all 276 members of her studio audience a brand-new Pontiac G6. The total cost? Just under $8 million. And each and every lucky winner was hit with a tax bill, totaling upwards of $6,000 for some, as a result.
37. In 2008, Discovery Communications announced that they were teaming up with Oprah's Harpo Productions for a joint venture, re-launching Discovery Health as OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network. The channel was the culmination of years of discussion between Oprah and Stedman about the media mogul creating her own network dating as far back as 1992. After some delays, OWN officially launched on January 1, 2011.
38. That same year, The Oprah Winfrey Show aired its final episode on May 25. The series lasted for 25 seasons, making it the longest-running daytime talk show ever.
39. To prepare for her role in the 1998 film adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel Beloved, Oprah sought out a man named Arthur Cohen, who re-enacts slave escapes along the Underground Railroad route, to re-enact the slave experience for her. "Yes, in Maryland I went through all that," she told Roger Ebert that year. "That's where I really touched the dark space. I originally wanted to do the exercises just as a matter of physicality. Like OK, what's it like to be barefoot in the woods and in the hot sun? I was gonna try to experience a part of the Underground Railroad for a couple of days. Sitting under a tree during that experience, though, I touched the dark, hollow, death-without-salvation place. 'Oh, that's what it is,' I thought. 'That's what it is.'"
40. Oprah has acted in six feature films, with her voice appearing in another five animated features.
41. She is one Grammy Award from earning her place on the list of esteemed EGOT winners. Aside from her many Daytime Emmys, she earned a Primetime Emmy in 2000 as producer of Tuesdays With Morrie (which won Outstanding Made for Television Movie) as well as the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award in 2002's ceremony. She earned her Tony in 2016 as producer of The Color Purple, which won Best Musical Revival, and earned her Oscar in 2011 when she was awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.
42. Oprah was the first-ever recipient of the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award.
43. Not one to ever pay for interviews, Oprah admitted in 1998 that she turned down a chance at massive ratings by sticking to her guns and telling Monica Lewinsky's team there'd be no check. "I do not pay for interviews," she told Roger Ebert that year. "My producers were like, 'How can you say no? It's the biggest interview of the year.' I said, 'Watch me say no.' "
44. In 2004, she became the first black person to rank among the 50 most generous Americans and remained there until 2010.
45. Oprah's Angel Network, a charity that supported charitable projects and provided grants to nonprofit organizations around the world, was launched in 1998. With Oprah personally covering all administrative costs associated with the charity, all of the over $80,000,000 raised by the charity went directly to charity programs. In May of 2010, with Oprah's show nearing its end, the organization stopped accepting donations and was shut down.
46. After a 2000 discussion with South African president Nelson Mandela, Oprah made the decision in 2002 to invest $40 million and her time to establish the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in Henley on Klip, just south of Johannesburg. The school officially opened in 2007.
47. Though the Academy has done a world of good for its students, it's also faced its share of criticism and controversy. Most notably, in its first year of operation, a female staffer was accused of physically and sexually assaulting students. Oprah flew to the school to meet with officials and parents and the matron was eventually arrested after seven students submitted statements detailing their alleged assaults.
48. After Oprah donated $12 million to the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, President Barack Obama awarded her with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States that recognizes people who have made "an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors"