Oprah Winfrey reveals she has just three friends in her inner circle

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Oprah Winfrey (L) and executive producer Maria Shriver attend the premiere of HBO Documentary Films'
Oprah Winfrey (L) and executive producer Maria Shriver attend the premiere of HBO Documentary Films'

Oprah Winfrey has opened up about her friendships and revealed that she doesn’t “have a lot of friends”.

Speaking on the Making Space with Hoda Kotb podcast alongside her long-time friend Maria Shriver, the 67-year-old former talk show host said she “never really expanded that circle until recently”.

Winfrey spoke about her friendship with Shriver, 65, which has lasted 42 years, describing a “spiritual connection” between the pair when they first met.

“I first met her in the bathroom [while working at] WJZ-TV early in the morning,” she said on the podcast. “I was coming in to do the morning cut-ins and she was doing evening magazine and had been up all night.

“[She] was in the bathroom, literally, splashing water on her face, and we started a conversation. I forever think that that was a divine moment that happened because she was one of my true, grounded friendships that carried me through my entire career.”

Winfrey added that her other close friendships included TV personality and broadcast journalist Gayle King and personal trainer Bob Greene.

“I don’t have a lot of friends. Everybody knows Gayle. There’s Gayle, there’s Maria, there’s Bob. And that’s about it, you know?” she said, adding that she met King around the same time as Shriver.

“I never really expanded that circle until recently. You know, I had become friends with a couple of people in my later adult life in the past five years.”

Shriver described her friendship with Winfrey as “deep, simple, low-maintenance, trustful, loyal, constant, consistent, honest, tried and true”.

She said that Winfrey would make simple gestures, such as bringing her cups of coffee, that have strengthened their friendship.

“It was so moving to me because… that’s not how I grew up, you know? Nobody brought a cup of coffee or a cup of water to me,” said Shriver.

“In a funny way, even though I had a very close relationship with my mother, I wasn’t nurtured, mothered in that way, right? And [Winfrey] wasn’t mothered in her own way. But I think, in a way, we have mothered each other.”

Earlier this year, Winfrey opened up about the key to her long-lasting friendship with King, 66, in an Oprah Daily video.

Talk show host Oprah Winfrey (C), Vogue editor Anna Wintour (L) and Oprah Magazine editor Gayle King attend the Vera Wang Spring/Summer 2003 Collection at the New York Public Library for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week September 20, 2002 (Getty Images)
Talk show host Oprah Winfrey (C), Vogue editor Anna Wintour (L) and Oprah Magazine editor Gayle King attend the Vera Wang Spring/Summer 2003 Collection at the New York Public Library for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week September 20, 2002 (Getty Images)

She said: “Surround yourself with someone who is as happy for your happiness as you are for your happiness. You need friends that are happy in their own lives so that they can actually be authentically happy for you.”

Winfrey first met Greene in 1993 in a spa in Colorado as her personal trainer, and they remained fast friends since.

Writing in the January 2007 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, she said: “When I first met Bob at that last-ditch-effort spa in Colorado, I thought for sure he was judging and labelling me as I had already judged and labeled myself – fat and out of control.

“Bob, it turned out, wasn’t judging me at all. He really understood,” she said, adding that working with Green was “priceless therapy”.

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