11 Things You Might Not Know About Oprah's Life Behind Closed Doors

The television mogul covers the latest issue of WSJ magazine

By Kendall Fisher Feb 06, 2018 6:35 PMTags
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It's always felt like Oprah was our family—like we know everything about her because she's always been open, honest and relatable in all of her work.

But have you ever thought about what the 64-year-old television mogul, magazine publisher and philanthropist does when she's not in the public eye? When she's not interviewing people on her shows? When she's not giving one of those chill-inducing speeches?

The A Wrinkle in Time star covers the latest issue of WSJ. magazine in which she gives readers some insight into her life behind closed doors.

Here are 11 things you might not know about Oprah's private life:

Oprah's Memorable Moments

1. She Spent Most of Her Career Absorbing Others' Emotions: We all know the Oprah Winfrey Show was one of the catalysts in shooting the television host to fame, but despite the success, she'd come home and struggle with getting through all the emotions she faced from her guests.

"It wasn't just a show for me," she told the publication. "It really was me being part of the human exchange, the whole human array of functions and dysfunctions. I'd go home, and I'd be overwhelmed. I was getting sick. I had to learn how to put up just a little bit of a shield but also to be fully present through that veil."

2. Her 50s Changed Her the Most: As you likely recall, she was 57 when she decided to end The Oprah Show, and she believes this was part of her evolving into the later part of her life.

"There's a quickening that happens, and your body, your hormones, everything is saying, 'Hey, you don't have as much time as you once had—let's get on with it!'" she explained. "You get to step into your true beauty, your true value, your true worth, without everyone else's opinions and judgments of what you should be."

3. She Loves Sleeping In: "For 25 years I had a schedule and a contract," Oprah revealed. "I'd get picked up at 5:30 in the morning in my apartment building's garage, and then I'd be picked up at the studio at 8:30 at night...Now the best thing ever is letting your body wake up when it wants to."

Oprah Winfrey's Year After Oprah

4. But It Took Her Three Years to Get to This Point of Content: She said in the months and years following Oprah she had to convince herself that she wasn't a "loser" because she wasn't filling up each hour of her day. She had to learn that making time for herself "is actually a good thing."

5. She Works Out 1.5 Hours a Day: She switches off doing yoga and a workout called Resistance Flexibility with a trainer who comes to her house, followed by a half hour on the treadmill every day. 

6. She Also Reads Roughly Three Books a Week: She says one of her greatest joys is driving six blocks to her local bookstore in Montecito and browsing the stacks on the tables. She also keeps up with both sides of politics by reading Politico, Red State and three newspapers (The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and the Washington Post) and The Atlantic.

"I want to see what the right side is saying and what the left side is saying," Oprah explained.

7. She Watches TV but Stays Away From the News: A few of her favorite shows include The Handmaid's Tale and Big Little Lies.  As for the news, she says, "I limit my intake. All these commentators are on, and they're just yakety-yaking. Everybody is talking to themselves. Nobody is listening to anybody. They're there to make their point and make their moment, and we're actually getting nowhere. So I turn it off."

Sterling K. Brown Had Dinner at Oprah Winfrey's House

8. She Has Five Dogs: Oprah has two springer spaniels, one golden spaniel and two golden retrievers.

9. She Hosts a Lunch at Least Three Times a Week: The actress loves having guests at her home. The meals are typically prepared by her personal chef, primarily with ingredients from her bountiful vegetable gardens on her property in Montecito. "I do a lot of business at the house," Oprah explained.


10. Unsurprisingly, She Puts Her Heart Into Hosting: A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay explained, "There is nothing like an Oprah party. Every single thing you experience is curated by her. That's her joy, designing experiences for people. From the moment you arrive, you feel her touch everywhere—from what the man who parks your car is wearing to the position of the plate. Her heart is in the details, her love of every little piece of a thing."

11. She Still Signs Her Own Checks: Despite all her fame and success, Oprah still likes handling her own money. "I need to know what my electric bill is. I think it keeps you grounded and aware of what's coming in and what's going out," she says. "I sit in on the boring tax meetings; I handle the money wiring. I have never liked surprises."

Do any of these tidbits surprise you? Sound off in the comments below!

You can also read Oprah's full interview with WSJ. magazine here.