Oprah reunites with her biological half-sister - Find My Family (2023)

For the most part, Oprah's life has been an open book. "I think I've seen most of it and heard all the stories," she says. "I thought nothing could surprise me more. But let me tell you, I was wrong.

Just before Thanksgiving 2010, Oprah received a piece of news about her family that she said moved her to the core. "[It's] a bombastic family secret that left me speechless," she says. "Only a handful of people in my life know."

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Oprah Winfrey's biological half-sister Patricia Lloyd

With the way the media works today, Oprah says there was no way the story was going to get out, so she and her family made the decision to do this show. "I wanted you to hear it from me first," she says. It all begins with the story of one woman...a Milwaukee mother who found out that she was Oprah's half-sister.

Patricia Lloyd was born on April 26, 1963 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. From the moment she was born, Patricia's life has been anything but easy. “They gave me up for adoption after giving birth and I was hospitalized for about a month,” says Patrícia.

Over the next seven years of Patricia's life, she jumped from one adoptive family to another before finally being adopted. She says that she always wanted to meet with her biological mother. "I was a little incredulous that he wasn't going to put me up for adoption. I always wish my birth mother would come back to get me," says Patricia. "So when you're older, you'll know that's not going to happen."

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Oprah's half-sister Patricia Lloyd with her daughter Aquarius and son Andre

At 17, Patrícia gave birth to a daughter, Aquário, and six years later she had a son, André. "I had my daughter very young, and my whole goal in wanting to have my daughter is to have a part of me, to be able to look at her and see a part of me," says Patricia.

Patricia spent the next 30 years raising her children alone. Today she still works two jobs to give her children a better life. "I'm grateful for the people I've had in my life and the people who have given me strength and the people who have loved me," she says. "I don't regret my mom giving up on me because she's not how my life was supposed to be. That's it."

When Patricia was 20 years old, she contacted the state of Wisconsin to find her birth mother, but never went further. Then, in 2007, Patricia's children urged her to try again. Patricia applied for her adoption papers and began searching for her birth family.

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Patricia Lloyd is the biological half-sister of Oprah Winfrey

Soon after, Patricia received her birth certificates in the mail. "I was like, 'Oh my gosh,'" she says. "I have a family." The documents date from 1963, the year Patricia was born. Although the names of her family members were not released, the documents contained important information. “I found out that I have three more brothers,” says Patrícia. At the time of her birth, she had a 4½-year-old sister, a 2-year-old brother, and a 9-year-old sister who lived in Nashville with her father.

The records also showed that two of her siblings, her second older sister and her second older brother, had already passed away, but her other sister was still alive. "[I was like] 'I can't wait to meet her because she's probably cooking up a storm there and she has like 10 kids,'" Patricia says.

(Video) Oprah Reveals She Has a Half-Sister, Patricia | The Oprah Winfrey Show | Oprah Winfrey Network

But a month later, Patricia received a harrowing call from the state adoption agency. "[The person she called] told me that my birth mother called again and at that point she decided not to see me," Patricia says. “I told him, 'Okay, because God is going to show me who you are.'

The same day that Patricia was rejected by her birth mother, she saw a story on the local Milwaukee news that would give her some answers. “She broke the news on television and they did an interview with Vernita, Oprah Winfrey's mother,” says André, Patrícia's son.

During that interview, Oprah's mother revealed details about Oprah's two half-siblings who died. This information matches the details on Patricia's birth certificates. "Her mother said that two of her children had died... I knew that two of my brothers had died and I knew who they were," says Patrícia. Their names? Jeffrey and Patricia, also known as "Pat". “The hairs on the back of my neck stood up because I also knew that one of my brothers and I had the same name,” says Patricia. "I said: 'No, it can't be'."

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Oprah's nephew Andre is the son of Oprah's half-sister.

All the details were waiting online. André put together the last piece of the puzzle. "I went online and found a biography of Oprah Winfrey and saw the birth dates of her mother and her brothers," he says. With that information, Andre and his mother realized that Oprah could be Patricia Lloyd's half-sister.

This could be? "Yes, it's true," says Oprah. "It's true that my mother, Vernita, is also Patricia's biological mother, which means that Patricia is my half-sister, that she never even knew she existed."

It was in 2007 when Patrícia compiled her family history, but she says she doesn't know what to do with the information. Note that Vernita never told her other three children that she had given a baby up for adoption.

Patricia tried to contact Vernita three times, but Vernita said she wasn't ready to meet her yet. "She hurt me a lot," says Patricia. "I had to let it go."

Despite feeling rejected by her birth mother, Patricia decided to keep her findings a secret for fear it would turn into a media frenzy. "I remember still worrying about my older sister and praying to God that nothing would happen," says Patricia. "I didn't want her to get hurt."

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Alisha Hayes is the daughter of Oprah's late sister Pat, and is the owner of Pat's Rib Place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Patricia wasn't sure what to do next, but then she saw a magazine article about Oprah's niece Alisha, daughter of Oprah's late sister Pat. Alisha and her husband own a restaurant in the Milwaukee area called Pat's Rib Place, named after her mother, who died in 2003. Patricia decided to go to the restaurant and meet Alisha.

When she arrived, she saw pictures of Pat on the walls of the restaurant and was surprised at how much she resembled Pat. "I'm your mother's sister," Patricia told Alisha. "I think she believed me at the time, but she didn't understand why she got so emotional."

Alisha says she looked at Patricia, marveling at how much she was like her mother. It was then that Patricia showed Alisha the documents detailing her biological family history. Alisha's husband, Tydus, was suspicious at first. "I'm thinking in my head, it could be any weirdo here who claims to be related only to Oprah," he says.

He then met Patricia and saw the resemblance to his late mother-in-law Pat. “It was the way she talked; it was the way she moved her hands; was the expression she made,” says Tydus. "It was her laughter. It was her excitement, her joy." Tydus says that he broke down and began to cry.

"[There was] something about her," says Alisha. "She felt good."

(Video) Oprah Winfrey reveals her long lost half sister

Although Alisha's instincts told her Patricia was her aunt, she says she wanted to be 100% sure. A week later, Patricia and Alisha took a DNA test. The results say that there is a positive match of 85% and since they are niece and aunt, there is no doubt that they are related.

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Oprah Winfrey shares her family's secret about the half-sister who didn't know why Patricia was given up for adoption

For months, Oprah's family members knew about Patricia, but no one told Oprah. "I had no idea that my mother abandoned a baby in 1963," says Oprah. "I was 9 years old at the time, I lived in Nashville with my dad, and I didn't even know my mom was pregnant... So imagine my surprise a few months ago. It was late October, right before Thanksgiving, [when] I found out she had another sister who lived just 90 minutes away in Milwaukee. What's even more amazing is that she has the same name as my first sister who died, Patricia."

It was Alisha who first emailed Oprah. Then Alisha's sister, Chrishaunda, sent another email. Oprah says that he called his two nieces and they told Oprah that he needed to talk to his mother, Vernita. But when Oprah talked to his mother, he said Vernita didn't mention Patricia. After speaking on the phone with other family members, Oprah finally asked her assistant, Libby, to tell her what was going on.

Just 10 minutes before taping for the show began, Libby told Oprah that she had a sister. Oprah called her mother and confronted her. "[I asked] 'Is this true?'" Oprah says. "[Vernita] finally said, 'Well yeah, I guess that's true.'"

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Separated by adoption, Oprah Winfrey is reunited with her half-sister Patricia

On Thanksgiving, Oprah and Stedman traveled to Milwaukee to meet her half-sister Patricia and Patricia's family for the first time. "You look like Pat," Oprah said when she saw Patricia. They spent the rest of the afternoon sitting around the table and getting to know each other.

In the car on the way back to Chicago, Oprah says that she and Stedman haven't spoken in miles. "Eventually, she turned to me and said, 'What was that?'" Oprah says. "It was so terrifying for us and everyone in this family how much this Patricia looked and moved and talked like Pat. It was a moment of love, if you know what I mean: the daughter coming back from the dead." .

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Separated by adoption, Oprah Winfrey is reunited with her half-sister Patricia

Since meeting her half-sister Patricia and her new niece and nephew, Oprah sayscame to admire his character. "What's so remarkable about this story to me, and it's going to make me cry, so be patient," Oprah told Patricia. "Since I became a public figure, I've only been anywhere a few times and I haven't sold myself. There have only been a few times where you've been able to bring someone new into your life and not have that person kill you. betray or use you". you. you or take advantage of you.

Patricia tried over and over again to get answers from my mother and other family members. She would never have thought of going to the press. She would never have thought of selling that story. ... When I heard that about you, I said, "Regardless of whether it's true or not, I needed to meet you because I wanted to meet someone with that character." So thanks."

A few weeks after Alisha and Patricia's DNA testing, Patricia met her birth mother, Vernita, for the first time. "I would just look at her and think, 'I don't know if I look like you or not,'" says Patricia. "I kept trying to find myself in it."

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Oprah's nieces Alisha and Chrishaunda

But there's no mistaking how much Patricia resembles her half-sister Pat. Pat's daughter, Alisha, says meeting Patricia was "one of the best gifts she could have ever received."

Chrishaunda, Pat's other daughter, first found out about Patricia from Alisha, who then sent her a photo of her newly discovered aunt. "When I saw the photo...I knew it was true," says Chrishaunda. "Before the [DNA] test, I just believed it was true."

For Chrishaunda, meeting Patricia was an emotional process. "I think she has her own personality and her gifts, but to me she is a constant reminder of the goodness that my mother embodied," she says. "My mom had a lot of demons that kept her from being her best. We know that, but I feel like my mom is talking about her through her."

Opra agrees. "It seems like [this] is closure for my late sister Pat," says Oprah. "My sister Pat, I did the best I could for her and as many of you know I had to take her to drug rehab twice and when she came out she just didn't make it. I think [Patricia] is Pat on her best day." .

(Video) FULL PART TWO: Tisha Campbell Is Reunited with Her Long-Lost Sister

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Oprah and her half-sister Patricia visit birth mother Vernita Lee

In January 2011, Patricia and Oprah met at Vernita's Milwaukee home to get more answers from her mother. Vernita, who recently suffered a stroke, says she was surprised, but not scared, when Patricia first tried to contact her. However, she fought the embarrassment. "I thought it was terrible for me to have given up my daughter when she was born," says Vernita.

The adoption records say that Vernita gave up Patricia because she wanted to get off welfare. “I decided to leave her because I couldn't take care of her,” says Vernita. "When I got out of the hospital, I told the nurse that she wasn't going to keep the baby. She said, 'Oh, but she's such a sweet girl. Why not?'"

After leaving the hospital, Vernita says she kept thinking about the baby and even went back to get it. "They told me that she left," she says. "I don't know if someone adopted her or what."

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Oprah and her biological sister Patricia

Patricia is stunned by her mother's words. "I'm just trying to record everything," she says. "I never heard of her being a pretty baby, so I didn't know. I always felt like she didn't want to give up on me. The fact that she said that she came back for me means a lot to me."

Now that Patricia is back in Vernita's life, Vernita says that it makes her "feel wonderful."

After leaving Vernita's house, Oprah saysshe had an epiphany: Her mother is still stuck in 1963. "She's still in the same mentality as she was in 1963 and still carries the misfortune that would have been inflicted on her in 1963 and as a result hasn't been able to walk away to fully recover." she hugs [Patricia] and accepts it. "miracles that really happened in our family," says Oprah.

Oprah looks at the camera and talks to her mother. "You can drop that. You can drop the shame," she says. “There are millions of people across the country just like you who have given up on their children because they knew at the time that they couldn't provide the best for them. So, Vernita, you can let it go.

That wasn't Oprah's only epiphany. "I got pregnant when I was 14 and that was my big secret," says Oprah. “I was abused from the age of 9, got pregnant at 14 and moved in with my father. My sister Pat went to the tabloids and told them this story. This caused a huge rift between me and my sister because she sold me out to the tabloids.

When I recently moved out of our mother's house, I realized for the first time that this was a gift to me. Pat, going to the tabloids and telling the story that I had the baby was a gift because she freed me from the shame that my mother still carries to this day. I thought if she hadn't done that, she'd still be right where my mom is, embarrassed."

(Video) Inside Patricia Lee's 50th Birthday Bash | Where Are They Now | Oprah Winfrey Network

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Oprah Winfrey's biological sister, Patricia Lloyd

Despite the difficulties she faced, Patricia never stopped contacting her biological family. "I knew I had to post or contact you so no one else would post," she says Patricia.

When Oprah questions why, Patricia explains that she didn't mean to hurt Oprah. “It's not fair, number one, because it's a family business,” says Patricia. "And family businesses should be run by the family."

"Well, it's out now," says Oprah.

"And he was treated by the family," says Patrícia. "This shouldn't be handled by anyone else. That's not fair. It wouldn't be fair to you."

Patrícia says that her children were also interested in meeting her family. “I realized when they came to me and asked the same question: 'Can you find your side of the family?' I began to think that they did not feel complete”, says Patricia. "I didn't think about it. I just thought it was just me...I said, 'Let me figure this out for her.'"

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Patricia, Oprah Winfrey's biological sister, daughter Aquarius, and son Andre

Now that Patricia has found her family, she feels connected, with a sense of wholeness, even if her mother's reaction was not what she imagined. "Okay," Patricia says. "I have my great-nieces and nephews, and I have [Oprah]."

Acuario, Patricia's daughter, says the whole experience was eye-opening. "[It's] a miracle to know that we have a family, to know that we have someone who looks like us, to know that we have someone who can have the same manners as us," she says. "It's amazing to know that we still have half of it."

André, Patricia's son, was also impressed. "I felt really blessed to be a part of your life and just connect with you," he told Oprah.

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Patricia Lloyd joins her biological sister Oprah Winfrey on The Oprah Show

What was the most rewarding part of that experience? "Get my family back," says Patricia.

To Oprah, who helped many families reuniteDie Oprah-ShowOver the years, this is just the beginning of the journey.

"As you can imagine, Patricia and I are still figuring this out," Oprah says. "It's a process. It's so sweet. She called me and said, 'Are you okay? Yeah, that's it. I'm still processing it. This is how we'll meet in the months and days and years to come." .'

(Video) Oprah Introduces Her Half-Sister

Watch Oprah's Epiphany
Watch Oprah Talk About Connecting With Patricia, Her Biological Half-Sister


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