Oprah Winfrey’s one-time stepmother Barbara Winfrey lets loose on the media giant in a new no holds barred interview, claiming that the talk show icon’s holier-than-thou attitude and penchant for control led to a bitter estrangement that’s left her evicted from her Nashville home and “out on the street.”
"You find out quickly where your place is with Oprah,” Barbara, who was married to Oprah’s father Vernon for 14 years, told Mail Online in the first of a two-part piece. “And you get in that place, and you stay in that place.”
She said, “Her brand is that she’s a nice, caring, generous, giving person — that’s not how it is — she’s controlling, it’s all about control.”
Barbara said she ran afoul of the 60-year-old network head by not kowtowing to her wealth and status.
"My crime, I think, was to talk to her like a normal person — and she didn’t like that one bit,” she told the outlet.
Barbara opened up to Mail Online about a visit she paid to Oprah’s Prairie, Indiana estate, recalling “That first night, she didn’t have anything to say to us hardly at all; she wasn’t warm at all.”
The following morning, according to Barbara, “Oprah got on to the intercom and announced, ‘Negroes in the house. Negroes in the house!’
“She thought it was funny; I thought it was insulting,” Barbara said. “I’m older than her. I know what it means. She was reminding us of our low class.”
Barbara, an education professional, told the paper the lesson she took from the incident was that “some people can have money and be mentally rich — secure in what they have, I guess. But others, how can I put it ... some people you can’t take the ghetto out of.”
Barbara claims Oprah is so guarded, that “she has confidentiality agreements with pretty much everybody in her life.
“She has them sign their life away and she has them in her pocket — everything comes with stipulations, but she doesn’t tell you that and she doesn’t tell you what they are.”
Regarding the house fiasco, Barbara said she misunderstood thinking that Oprah had not given her and her ex-husband the home, but was merely letting them stay there.
"It was a new home so we got to choose every part of it,” she said. “We signed so many documents, became part of the Housing Association. I was thankful of course. I never knew it was Oprah’s name on the deeds and that I was just on probation.”
Eviction papers spurred by Oprah have a deadline of May 29, according to Barbara.
Barbara told the paper she’s “lost everything” and that the home contained all of her memories.
“I’m trying to keep it together but there are some days I just don’t understand how I could have made her so angry that she would kick me out on the street and think nothing about it,” Barbara said. “But that’s Oprah – she’s judge and jury.”
A rep for Winfrey, speaking about the real estate fracas, told Radar, "As part of the divorce proceedings, Barbara Winfrey was offered the Chateaue Valley home free and clear to live with her family and she chose not to accept it.
"The next offer was to sell the residence on Willowbooke Circle and split the proceeds equally, which she also turned down. After several requests to voluntarily vacate the property at Willowbrooke Circle, the appropriate paperwork has been filed to have her vacate the property. A 60 day extension has been granted."