The Real Reason Oprah Never Had Kids

Motherhood isn't for everyone, and yet those who opt out of having kids are typically questioned about it, especially when those people are women. Even megastar celebrities like Oprah Winfrey are subject to speculation — the iconic talk show host has been questioned about her marital status and choice to remain childless for years. 

Although Winfrey and long-time partner Stedman Graham have been together since 1986, the couple never married. According to Winfrey, even Graham agrees that being married would have changed their relationship. "Both he and I now say, 'If we had married, we would not be together,'" she told People in October 2019. "No question about it..." The dynamic duo also decided to not have kids.

Fitting children into a busy lifestyle didn't work for Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey did give birth to a son when she was 14 years old, a product of the sexual abuse she'd endured from the age of 9. The infant died just two weeks after he was born, and though tragic, Winfrey says she viewed it as a chance for a fresh start (via Irish Examiner). Despite her hardships, Winfrey eventually went into broadcasting and made a name for herself, rising up to become a billionaire with her own television show (via Notable Biographies).

Remarkably, Winfrey didn't opt out of having children because of her traumatic upbringing, but because of her busy and demanding lifestyle. "If I had kids, my kids would hate me," Winfrey told The Hollywood Reporter in 2013. "They would have ended up on the equivalent of the Oprah show talking about me; because something [in my life] would have had to suffer and it would've probably been them."

Oprah Winfrey does not regret her choice not to have kids

Winfrey told People that she once even bought an additional apartment in Chicago because she figured she would need more space once she was married and had children. However, once she started The Oprah Winfrey Show, she saw how much she would have to sacrifice to be a good 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 said. "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."

Regardless, Winfrey doesn't second-guess her choice, explaining, "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. Those girls fill that maternal fold that I perhaps would have had. In fact, they overfill — I'm overflowed with maternal."