Oprah Winfrey: 15 Things You Didn’t Know (Part 1)

Oprah Winfrey, also known simply as Oprah, is one of the most important public figures of her time. The 61-year-old may have been around the block a few times, but she’s still going strong. However, despite the fact that Oprah has spent a considerable amount of time in the spotlight and under the scrutiny of the public eye, there are still some things that many people don’t know. With that in mind, here we present our list of 15 things you probably didn’t know about Oprah Winfrey. Check out part one below, and stay tuned for part two, coming soon!

Number Fifteen: She Was a Beauty Queen. It’s no secret that Oprah has publicly struggled with weight loss, but when she was 17, she was actually a beauty queen! Oprah won two beauty pageants in 1971 – Miss Black Tennessee and Tennessee’s Miss Fire Prevention.

Number Fourteen: She Supported Gay Rights Before it Was Cool. Or before everyone else was doing it, anyway. In 1988, Oprah promoted the very first National Coming Out Day on her talk show, and various celebrities have come out on her show as well. In fact, Oprah played Ellen DeGeneres’ on-screen therapist when she came out on her own talk show.

Number Thirteen: She Paid Off Her Mom’s Debt. Oprah’s mom got herself into a bit of a situation in 2008 when a fashion boutique claimed she had bought more than $155,000 of clothing using credit and then refused to pay it back. Oprah ended up paying off enough debt to make the store happy, although the actual terms of the settlement were never released.

Number Twelve: She Rejected the Emmys. Well, sort of. Beginning in 2000 and moving forward, Oprah requested that she not be considered for any Daytime Emmy Awards. This may have been because her show had already won 47 Emmy Awards.

Number Eleven: She Has Romantic Ties to John Tesh. Tesh, who is a former host of Entertainment Tonight, confirmed in 2010 that he dated Oprah when they were both young reporters in Nashville a mere 40 years earlier.

Number Ten: She Smoked Crack. When she was in her 20s, Oprah actually used crack. She revealed this on an episode of her show in 1995 while she was interviewing four mothers with drug problems. Oprah went on to say that she smoked crack because the man she was involved with wanted her to.

Number Nine: Her Interview With Michael Jackson Was the Fourth-Most-Watched Non-Sports TV Broadcast in History. Oprah sat down to interview Jackson in 1993 after he had taken a 14-year hiatus from interviews. Clearly, people were watching, because it became the fourth-most-watched non-sports TV broadcast of the time.