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Kitty Kelley exposes Oprah 'beyond her public persona'

Kitty Kelley assumes that Oprah’s reluctance to participate in her book could possibly be because she does not want to reveal much about herself.

In three years of research for her unauthorized Oprah Winfrey biography, Kitty Kelley has managed to discover some facts that were unsolved by the talk-show queen herself.

Oprah, according to Kelley, has tried real hard to find out the identity and background of her biological father, but in vain. However, Kelley, who was probably more inquisitive, managed to get out the name from one of Oprah’s relatives.

But Oprah would get no help from Kelley as she intends to keep her father’s identity under covers. The world will not get to know of it until Oprah herself digs up this information from her mother, Vernita Lee.

No contribution from Oprah
Though the influential talk-show host was not pleased with Kelley writing a tell-all on her, she said she doesn’t discourage it either. However, she flatly refused to contribute.

Crown Publishers first announced in December 2006 that Kitty Kelley would be writing Oprah’s biography.

Oprah’s immediate reaction was of indifference. “She is aware of the book but has no plans to contribute,” said her publicist.

I know it’s going to be lots of things in there that are not true – Oprah Winfrey, on her biography by Kitty Kelley.

Six months later, while talking to the New York Daily News, Oprah said, “I’m not cooperating with it, but if she wants to write a book, fine. This is America. I’m not discouraging it or encouraging it.

“And you know I can encourage,” she added.

Kitty Kelley’s persistence
So Kelley went ahead with her massive research, meeting people, digging out all relevant facts from Oprah’s life, interviewing some 850 people and sending several requests to Oprah for an interview.

Oprah never agreed, but Kelley was persistent, so she extracted all the interviews the powerful lady had given in the past two decades. “Throughout this book I have been able to cite Oprah in her own words, expressing her thoughts and emotions in response to events in her life as they occurred,” claims Kelley.

But in April 2008, long before the release of biography, Oprah declared she was convinced there are going to be false facts in the book. “Somebody’s working on a biography of me now, unauthorized. So I know it’s going to be lots of things in there that are not true,” she had said back then.

Biography exposes too much
However, Kelley went ahead to bring forth her 544-page book, ‘Oprah: A Biography by Kitty Kelley’, in which she talks about everything from Oprah’s 1970s romance with her live-in lover John Tesh, and how he dumped her, to her love for junk food about three decades ago. The book even suggests that Oprah Winfrey could be gay.

Kelley, who has written about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Nancy Reagan and the British Royal Family, assumes that Oprah’s reluctance to participate in her book could possibly be because she does not want to reveal much about herself.

She validates by remembering that Oprah had pulled out her own autobiography, before it went into publication, as she feared she had revealed too much.

"Oprah has spent years eliciting intimate confessionals from her subjects, but she herself has a carefully guarded persona," said Crown spokesman David Drake. "This is the first complete portrait of her — it will reveal Oprah as she has never been seen before."