But “then she became this powerful person and things changed, the balance switched,” she says. They talk on the phone three or four times a day, Barbara says, and Stedman has had to learn to be OK with that.

“I don’t know any man I’ve ever dated who could tolerate that,” she says, “but Stedman knows Gayle’s going nowhere.” And as for those persistent rumors that Oprah and Gayle are more than just friends?

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“He was comfortable like an old shoe to her,” she says.

Apparently, it was once different, with Barbara recounting a story she had heard from Oprah’s father about a roadtrip with the couple when Oprah was much more touchy-feely with Stedman.

Winfrey was born into poverty in rural Mississippi to a teenage single mother and later raised in an inner-city Milwaukee neighborhood.

She has stated that she was molested during her childhood and early teens and became pregnant at 14; her son died in infancy.

Apparently, the arrangement suits them and she has said publicly that she has absolutely no intention of getting married.

She has been interviewed many times over the years and somehow, the question of marriage always comes up.“I can only say what I saw and observed over the years. You know who he is, you know who she is, but will they ever be able to add the title “married”? That’s Barbara Winfrey, stepmother to Oprah, giving her sassy and unfiltered opinion on her most famous woman in the world’s famously conspicuous relationship with her best friend, Gayle King.It’s part of an interview Barbara Winfrey gave to The Daily Mail, an article that reads like the 11 p.m.Sent to live with the man she calls her father, a barber in Tennessee, Winfrey landed a job in radio while still in high school and began co-anchoring the local evening news at the age of 19.