Oprah Winfrey Reveals Why She Didn’t Believe She’d Live Past 56

Oprah Winfrey opens about how she didn’t know she’d live past 56 in a new interview.

Lady O is truly a gem we’ve cherished over the years, but the queen of daytime talk reveals that she wasn’t sure she was going to make it to see a 57th birthday. In a new interview with PEOPLE magazine, the 65-year-old opened up about the childhood dream that challenged her during her road to success.

“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,” Winfrey said. “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 [King, her best friend]. 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.’”

The same year she ended her hit show, in 2011, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” she turned 57. “When I got to 57, it was like, ‘Why did all my life I think it was going to be 56?’” she says. “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.”

The journalist also detailed life-changing moments like her move to Nashville to live with her father and growing up as a teen in Milwaukee. “When I was in Milwaukee, I was trapped in a world where I could see how dire it was,” she said. “Had I not gotten out of Milwaukee, nothing would have been the same. I do believe I would have been dead at 56. I believe I would have been 437 lbs. 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.”

Oprah Winfrey for People
Oprah Winfrey for People

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Jen is a Writer and Content Curator for Baller Alert, who writes under the alias “MsJennyb.” In this role, Jen develops and contributes relevant special-themed content to attract readers. Before joining the Entertainment Industry via Baller Alert, Jen spent one year as a Freelance Writer and two years as a Human Resources assistant in a corporate office. Jen has a degree in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University with a concentration in Africana Studies.

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