Gayle King, Oprah Relationship 'Bizarre,' Says Divorcing Stepmom

Image: Gayle King, Oprah Relationship 'Bizarre,' Says Divorcing Stepmom  (L to R) Barbara Winfrey, Stedman Graham, Vernon Winfrey and daughter Oprah Winfrey.

Thursday, 24 Apr 2014 11:30 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Barbara Winfrey, stepmother of media mogul Oprah Winfrey, called Winfrey's relationship with "CBS This Morning" co-host and longtime friend Gayle King "bizarre" and "unhealthy" in a two-part interview with London's Daily Mail.

Barbara Winfrey is in the middle of a divorce with Winfrey's father Vernon, who lives just south of Nashville, Tenn., and shared her thoughts on Winfrey – most of them unflattering – during the Daily Mail interview posted online Tuesday.

Barbara Winfrey told the Daily Mail that the relationship between Winfrey and King is the reason neither woman is married, but the story did not elaborate on the comment. Barbara Winfrey charged that the talk show host's longtime boyfriend Stedman Graham remains in Oprah Winfrey's life more for convenience and money than anything romantic.

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"You find out quickly where your place is with Oprah and you get in that place and you stay in that place," Barbara Winfrey told the Daily Mail. "My crime, I think, was to talk to her like a normal person and she didn't like that one bit."

Barbara Winfrey described the first time she met Oprah Winfrey and King when she and her father were dating, driving up to the star's residence in Indiana.

"Early the next morning (Oprah Winfrey) got on the intercom in her house – she has an intercom in all her houses – and she was calling, 'Barbara, Barbara come down, we're going for a walk," said Barbara Winfrey, who added that King actually did most of the talking once they were together.

"Gayle was there and the way it worked she walked on one side, Oprah on the other and they peppered me with questions. I felt like I was being interrogated by the FBI. She had a large farm, about 125 acres. By the end of the walk I felt we'd covered the whole farm."

Winfrey fought back gay rumors in a 2010 interview with ABC News, saying she and King, who first met while working together at a Baltimore television station, is more like a family member but is not a lover.

"She is ... the mother I never had," Winfrey said of King in the interview with Barbara Walters. "She is ... the sister everybody would want. She is the friend that everybody deserves. I don't know a better person. I don't know a better person."

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