What You Don't Know About Whoopi Goldberg

Fans know Caryn Elaine Johnson as Whoopi Goldberg, a star of iconic movies like "Ghost" and "The Color Purple." In 1991, she would win a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in the former, becoming the first Black woman to take home an Academy Award in half a century (via Variety). It's worth noting that in 1986, the star was nominated for an Oscar for the latter role. 

Meanwhile, Goldberg is actually an EGOT winner, meaning she has snagged an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. There are only 15 other stars who can claim such an impressive feat, including Rita Moreno, Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks and John Legend (via The Wrap).

Aside from her incredible talent as an actress and comedian, she has also co-hosted "The View" since 2007 (via Britannica). It's in this role she won an Emmy, having earned a Tony in a producing role for "Thoroughly Modern Millie." Her Grammy comes from her album "Whoopi Goldberg: Direct From Broadway."

Over on the ABC daytime talk show created by Barbara Walters, Goldberg never shied away from sharing her, well, views.

Whoopi Goldberg has long been a controversial figure on The View

Viewers are familiar with Goldberg's controversial takes on issues from whether Bill Cosby's accusers were truthful, to her assertion that the Holocaust is not about race (via The Sun). About the 1980s sitcom icon, she said, "I'm gonna reserve my judgment because I have a lot of questions."

Public backlash forced Goldberg to change her tune, as did the intense anger sparked by her Holocaust views. The star apologized on Twitter and on the show, but was further reprimanded by her boss at ABC who announced the star would be suspended for two weeks. In part, ABC News President Kim Godwin said the time would allow Goldberg an opportunity "to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments."

This was far from the first time the actress' comments caused fury, with Goldberg saying in 2014, "if I slap a man, he has every right to slap me back." She also intimated on air that Jay-Z was justified in getting physical with his sister-in-law in that infamous elevator video, saying, "I think Solange was quite ready for him to do whatever he was going to do."

Whoopi Goldberg has known unconditional love

She may fall out of favor with the public over some of her more extreme views, but the star has also been at the receiving end of unwavering support, namely from her mom, Emma Harris.

As she said about her mother's death in 2010 while talking to Oprah Winfrey, "I realized a couple of days after she passed that no one would ever love me like that again. I wouldn't put that kind of sparkle in anybody's eye, you know? And you kind of know that, that person, those are your first loves. Those are the first people you tell your secrets to. Those are the people who hold you when it's scary. That's a big deal" (via Yahoo!).

Harris supported her famous daughter throughout her career, with Goldberg telling Variety a funny story about her mom not being in attendance when she won an Oscar for "Ghost." "My mom did not want to come because she felt that she came to the first one and didn't want me to see her looking disappointed or upset," she shared, referring to her nomination for "The Color Purple." "And then I won, and it was like, 'Of course, the day you don't come,'" Goldberg joked.

Whoopi Goldberg had a baby with her drug counselor

"The View" fans know that the co-host has one daughter, Alexandrea Martin. What they may not know is that the child was the product of a relationship with her drug counselor when she was trying to get sober at the age of 18 (via Good Housekeeping). Goldberg married Alvin Martin and they welcomed Alex — the couple later split.

The mother and daughter had it rough for a while when the star decided she wanted to pursue acting and moved Alex to California. Goldberg took on jobs like working in a mortuary to keep their heads above water, according to The Things.

Alex talked to The Grio about those days, long before she became an EGOT winner. "I know what it's like with the food stamps, because my mom has her [welfare] cards framed. Seriously... I remember that," she said, adding, "I remember we had the one room space and we slept in the bed together. I remember when we wanted to travel we would drive across the country in broke down bugs. We didn't have the money to go to movies. I found friends, I walked down the street, I climbed trees, I did camping."

Whoopi Goldberg has overcome her share of obstacles

Goldberg has spoken about her battle with drug addiction on "The View." As she shared on air in 2011, "Having been a drug addict, I feel I can say this... I was a functioning drug addict. I showed up for work because I knew a lot of people would be out of work and I wouldn't get a check that I needed to buy my drugs" (via EW).

She added, "I ended up sitting on a bed for three or four days scared there was something under the bed. I wet the bed, I pooped the bed... I was so scared. I hit bottom. I did that a long time ago."

Her younger brother and only sibling Clyde also died of a brain aneurysm in 2015 according to Hello!, which reports the star was very close to him. She has been guarded about talking about her sibling, saying only on "The View," ​​My brother, Clyde Johnson, was an amazing cat" (via The Hollywood Reporter).

Whoopi Goldberg has had a very interesting romantic life

Goldberg was married three times — once to Alex's father and then to a cinematographer named David Claessen (via Vanity Fair). Their union only lasted two years. But her next marriage was even shorter, to Lyle Trachtenberg, with the couple calling it quits after one year (via Closer Weekly). As for why she didn't stay married, the star told The New York Times Magazine in 2019, "Look, people expect you to have a boyfriend. They expect you to get married. So I kept trying to do that, but I didn't want to share information with somebody else. I didn't want anybody asking me why I was doing what I was doing, or to have to make the other person feel better."

Not that Goldberg didn't move on to engage in her share of high-profile relationships, most notably with actors Frank Langella and Ted Danson. She is still open to dating, joking on "The View," "I went out with a younger dude and he said, 'I can't believe this.' I said, 'What are you talking about?' He said, 'I did not know that Paul McCartney had another band." She added, "So you have to know when you're going younger, there's a lot of information that you have to impart. And sometimes it's tiring."

"But then there's the other way where you're like, 'Yeah, you're younger, but you look good! Yeah, you're alright.' So you never know," she ultimately quipped.