Oprah Winfrey Reveals Why She Hasn't Married or Had Kids

Oprah Winfrey doesn't harbor any regrets about her choice not to marry or have children, opening up about what led her to that decision in an interview with PEOPLE for its Women Changing the World edition. At 65, the billionaire mogul explained she once thought of having children after becoming engaged to longtime partner Stedman Graham, even purchasing an additional Chicago apartment to make room for children in the event they got married. In the end, Winfrey and Graham never became parents, but her time on The Oprah Winfrey Show made evident “the depth of responsibility and sacrifice that is actually required to be a mother."

“I realized, ‘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,'” she told the outlet. “I don’t have the ability to compartmentalize 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.”

She continued of her choice to never marry Graham, “I used to think about this all the time, that I was working these 17-hour days, and so were my producers, and then I go home and I have my two dogs and I have Stedman, who’s letting me be who I need to be in the world. He’s never demanding anything from me like, ‘Where’s my breakfast? Where’s my dinner?’ Never any of that, which I believed would have changed had we married.”

“Both he and I now say, ‘If we had married, we would not be together,'” she noted. “No question about it — we would not stay married, because of what that would have meant to him, and I would have had my own ideas about it.”

After years of this arrangement working out just fine, Winfrey said she wouldn't change a thing.


“I have not had one regret about that. I also believe that part of the reason why I don’t have regrets is because I got to fulfill it in the way that was best for me: the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa,” she said. “Those girls fill that maternal fold that I perhaps would have had. In fact, they overfill — I’m overflowed with maternal.”

Photo credit: Getty / Jean Baptiste Lacroix