Oprah Winfrey, 65, was ‘filled with dread’ that she would die at age 56… and she only shared her fear with BFF Gayle King
Oprah Winfrey had a bad feeling for many years that she was going to die at the age of 56.
The talk show vet – who is now 65-years-old – only told her best friend Gayle King about her fear, leaving partner Stedman Graham out of the loop.
‘I used to have this dream that I was going to be dead at 56, so the year that I turned 56 I was filled with dread,’ the OWN founder told People.
Icon: Oprah Winfrey thought she would die nine years ago at 56; she is pictured at that age in December 2010 on the set of her iconic talk show
‘I had only told one other person that I had a number in my head when I was going to die, and that was Gayle,’ Oprah revealed.
‘Gayle said: “What’s the number?” I said: “I’m not going to tell you, because you will drive me crazy and then I will end up dead.”‘
She turned 57 on January 29, 2011, and four months later she brought the curtain down on her iconic series The Oprah Winfrey Show, which began in 1986.
‘When I got to 57, it was like: “Why did all my life I think it was going to be 56?” At the time I started having this vision of 56, it was when I was in Milwaukee and I was trapped in a world where I could see how dire it was,’ she said.
Throwback: She kept her fears secret even from her decades-long partner Stedman Graham (left) – although she did partially confide in her best friend Gayle King (right); pictured in 1994
After living with her maternal grandmother in the Mississippi countryside, Oprah moved to Milwaukee aged six to stay with her mother Vernita.
Her childhood was scarred by physical and sexual abuse, and Oprah has shared publicly that she was raped when she was only nine years old.
At the age of 14, while pregnant with a son who would be born prematurely and die in infancy, Oprah moved in with her father Vernon in Nashville.
Still pals: Oprah told Gayle ‘I had a number in my head when I was going to die’ but not what the number was; they are pictured together in 2016
She graduated high school and college in that city and got her start in broadcasting there on the radio station WVOL.
‘Had I not gotten out of Milwaukee, nothing would have been the same. I do believe I would have been dead at 56,’ Oprah told People.
The TV legend, who has been candid about her fluctuating size and owns a stake in Weight Watchers, said: ‘I believe I would have been 437 lbs.’
She added: ‘I believe I would have had diabetes. I would have had high blood pressure. I would have suffocated knowing that things could have been different.’
Still thriving: Oprah and Stedman had fun with a prom pose on October 5 in Atlanta