Oprah Winfrey Quotations

Oprah Gail Winfrey / b. 1954 / Mississippi, USA / Actress, Television Talk Show Host and Producer, Businesswoman

Free Speech

Re: Winfrey’s acquittal of libel for criticizing the beef industry:

I will continue to use my voice. I believed from the beginning that [the lawsuit] was an attempt to muzzle my voice, and I come from a people who have struggled and died in order to have a voice in this country. And I refused to be muzzled.

Reported in “Oprah: ‘Free speech rocks’: Texas cattlemen lose defamation suit,” cnn.com, February 26, 1998.

Philosophy of Life

What other people label or might try to call failure, I have learned is just God’s way of pointing you in a new direction.

Commencement address, Howard University, May 12, 2007; accessible on youtube.com.

I believe that every single event in life happens in an opportunity to choose love over fear.

Reported by Tuchy Palmieri in Oprah, in Her Words: Our American Princess (2008).

All the energy that you spend, trying to hurt somebody else, that energy will turn around and slap you in the face. The same thing is true, Love, what I know is that the energy that put out everyday with the best of intentions that it would reach you where you really live in heart of yourself has come back to me from all of you in full force. So that what we’ve learnt on this show; You are responsible for your life and when you get that, everything changes, my friends. So don’t wait for somebody else to fix you, to save you or complete you. . . .

The Oprah Winfrey Show Finale, May 25, 2011; reported by Cynthia McFadden in “Oprah’s Final Farewell,” ABC News; accessible on youtube.com.

Turn your wounds into wisdom.

Interview with Piers Morgan, “Piers Morgan Tonight,” CNN, January 17, 2011; accessible on cnn.com.

Your life is not static. Every decision, setback, or triumph is an opportunity to identify the seeds of truth that make you the wondrous human being that you are. I’m not talking just about what you do for a living. When you pay attention to what feeds your energy, you move in the direction of the life for which you were intended. Trust that the Universe has a bigger, wider, deeper dream for you than you could ever imagine for yourself.

Oprah Winfrey, The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose (2019).


Re: Barack Obama’s election as Senator from Illinois:

It felt like a new day.

Obama interview, “Man of the Moment,” The Oprah Winfrey Show, oprah.com, January 19, 2005.

Re: Pedophiles:

You want motivation? You still don’t understand what our children are up against? Let me read you something that was posted on our message boards from someone who claims to be a member of a known pedophile network. He said this: he doesn’t forgive, he does not forget, his group has over nine thousand penises and they’re all raping children. So, I want you to know: they’re organized, and they have systematic ways of hurting children and they use the internet to do it. These are the predators that are molesting and raping our children. They’re trading the photos and videos online, and I want to stress again: this is not about politics, it’s about giving the dedicated men and women of law enforcement who are trying to catch these predators the resources they need.

The Oprah Winfrey Show, 2008.

Re: the mass shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada, on October 1, 2017:

I feel like my soul is aching for the country. . . . There’s not a day that goes by where I’m not putting on my shoes, or brushing my teeth, where I just think about the ordinariness of, people who just went to a concert, or the ordinariness of the day from people from 9/11, who were just doing an ordinary thing, and then you never get home. . . . So, I would say that these days of crisis and tragedy are to remind us all to be present in the ordinariness of our lives, that actually turns out to be extraordinary, when the person you love doesn’t come home at night. . . . I would say, we can’t allow ourselves to be frightened into not living our lives, and I think that we have to keep going and we have to keep going with the faith that thing will get better. . . . And things will get better when we make them better.

Interview with Entertainment Tonight; reported in “Oprah Winfrey Offers Words of Wisdom in Wake of Deadly Las Vegas Shooting,” KTVB-TV, Boise, Idaho, October 2, 2017; accessible on ktvb.com.

Winfrey on Winfrey

I never think about what I want. It’s about what you want to give to other people.

Reported by Egbert Sukop in The Money Adventure (1998).

What I learned at a very early age was that I was responsible for my life. And as I became more spiritually conscious, I learned that we all are responsible for ourselves, that you create your own reality by the way you think and therefore act. You cannot blame apartheid, your parents, your circumstances, because you are not your circumstances. You are your possibilities. If you know that, you can do anything.

Reported in O Magazine, January, 2007.

Re: Winfrey’s friendship with Gayle King:

I understand why people think we’re gay. There isn’t a definition in our culture for this kind of bond between women. So I get why people have to label it—how can you be this close without it being sexual?

Reported in “Oprah: Gayle and I Are Not Gay,” People magazine, July 16, 2006.

Re: the 2006 film, The Secret:

I think that, uh, you know, I’m really happy that the message, or at least some of the message of The Secret is reaching mass consciousness in a way that people realize that they can begin to, uh, positively affect their lives. That’s why when I was on the show and said “I’ve lived this way my whole life”, and people who watched our show for years know that I’ve been talking about how you take responsibility for your life and the choices that you make. Empower your life. And so, when I say that, you know, um, that’s how I live my life, the message of The Secret, that’s what I mean. I also believe, that, uh, medical healing or healing comes in lots of forms. You know that adage about the guy being lost and God sent him a boat—then he gets to heaven and says “Why didn’t you help me?” And God’s, “I sent you the boat, fool!” So, that’s the way I look at medical healing.

The Oprah Winfrey Show, March, 2007; accessible on youtube.com.

People often ask me: “What is the secret to the success of the show?” “How it lasted 25 years?” I jokingly say: “My team and Jesus,” because nothing but the Hand of God has made this possible for me. For all of you who get railed up when I mentioned God and you wanna know which God am I talking about, I am talking about the same one you talk about, I am talking about the Alpha and Omega, the Omniscience, the Unprecedented, the Ultimate Consciousness, the Source, the Force, the all of everything that is, The One and Only G-O-D, that’s what I am talking about. . . .

The Oprah Winfrey Show Finale, May 25, 2011; reported by Cynthia McFadden in “Oprah’s Final Farewell,” ABC News; accessible on youtube.com.

I know where my lane is, and I know how to stay in my lane. My lane is evolving the consciousness of people.

Interview with Piers Morgan, “Piers Morgan Tonight,” CNN, January 17, 2011; accessible on cnn.com.

The thing that I do best is “Be Here. Be Now.”

Interview with Piers Morgan, “Piers Morgan Tonight,” CNN, January 17, 2011; accessible on cnn.com.

Growing up in the church, one of my favorite Bible parables was about the mustard seed: If you have faith, even if it’s as little as a mustard seed, you can move mountains. Anything is possible. As a child, listening from my seat in church, this brought me so much comfort—just as it did when I was struggling as a reporter in Baltimore and as it still does today.

Oprah Winfrey, The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose (2019).

Years ago, I interviewed a grieving mother whose adult son had died after a long illness. You could have heard a pin drop in the studio when she so beautifully told the story of their final moment together. The mother had climbed into bed with her son. She could barely hear him, but her head was on his chest. As he took his last breath, he whispered, “Oh Mom, it is all so simple. It’s so simple, Mom.” He then closed his eyes and died. I got chills when I heard that. I realized then, just as it resonates with me now: We allow life to get so complicated—when it’s really so very simple. From that day forward I resolved to continually ask myself, How am I making things more difficult than they need to be? Your answer to that same question is the next step in your path. It’s that simple. Imagine what lies just around the bend. Can you see it? I can. Love, Oprah.

Oprah Winfrey, The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life’s Direction and Purpose (2019).