Oprah’s Secret: She Has a Half-Sister

Talk show host reveals sister was put up for adoption decades ago

Last Updated: January 24, 2011 @ 10:00 AM

Oprah Winfrey's secret is a sister.

The talk show host, who promised a secret family bombshell on Monday's show, came through with the revelation that she has a half-sister, Patricia, who was given up for adoption by Winfrey's mother after her birth in 1963, USA Today reports.

"Patricia is my half-sister who I never knew existed," Winfrey said on Monday's show.

Patricia, who's last name was not disclosed, was put up for adoption because Winfrey's mother, Vernita Lee, wanted to get off welfare and knew she couldn't with another child, Winfrey said.

Patricia lived in foster homes until she was 7, some of which were "not so good," she said.By 17, she was a single mother. She now has two grown children, a daughter and son.

Patricia said her response was, "Oh my God, I have a family" when she found out she has three siblings. Winfrey is the only one who is still alive.

Winfrey said she learned of the "bombshell family secret" just before Thanksgiving and chose to share it before it could be exploited by others.