Oprah Felt 'Shame' Before Using Weight-Loss Drug: ‘It Was a Public Sport to Make Fun of Me for 25 Years’

Winfrey reflected on the public torment she experienced around her weight in a new 'People' cover story.

Arturo Holmes / The Hollywood Reporter via Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey felt "blamed and shamed" about her old size before seeking treatment through a weight-loss drug.

The talk show icon, producer and actress discussed her experience in a new People cover story, as she's currently on a press tour for the upcoming musical film The Color Purple.

"It was a public sport to make fun of me for 25 years," she told the publication. “The things that were said about me, said to me, around me, the jokes that were made. You could not get away with it in the slightest sense today.”

.@Oprah Winfrey Opens Up About Turning 70, Gratitude and How the The Color Purple 'Changed Everything' (Exclusive) https://t.co/OUfDH4FNYx pic.twitter.com/KsTEd2n9AZ

— People (@people) December 13, 2023
Twitter: @people

Winfrey pinpointed that a critical moment she faced about her weight was when late fashion journalist Richard Blackwell called out her size on a magazine cover. "I was on the cover of some magazine and it said, 'Dumpy, Frumpy and Downright Lumpy,'" Winfrey shared.

“I just accepted that as that’s what it is, and I didn’t feel angry. I felt sad. I felt hurt. I felt shame. But it didn’t occur to me that I could even feel angry. I swallowed the shame, and I accepted that it was my fault.”

Once realizing that "obesity is a disease," Winfrey sought help from a weight-loss medication, although she didn't specify whether it was Ozempic, a favorite among Hollywood stars.

"The fact that there's a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift, and not something to hide behind and once again be ridiculed for," Winfrey said. "I’m absolutely done with the shaming from other people and particularly myself."

Winfrey's openness about her weight comes in the same week that she literally had a touchy interview with Drew Barrymore. On Barrymore's daytime talk show, she grabbed Winfrey's right hand and caressed her arm, which some viewers found to be cringey. Winfrey later told TMZ that she was "comforted" by the interaction, and joked that she told her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, to do the same.

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