Oprah pays emotional tribute to her late mother, thanking fans for condolences and kind words
Oprah Winfrey sent a message on Instagram about her mother's passing which happened four days ago. She died in her Milwaukee, Wisconson home.
Vernita Lee passed away on Thanksgiving day last week. Her granddaughter Alisha Hayes was first to share the news on Facebook. Winfrey, 64, waited a few days to speak on her mother's death.
Winfrey shared a photo of mother Lee, who gave birth to Winfrey, her first daughter when she was only a teen. In the photo, Lee sat in the middle and was surrounded by several family members.
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Winfrey's longtime partner Stedman Graham is also spotted in the group. Winfrey captioned the photo:
"Thank you all for your kind words and condolences regarding my mother Vernita Lee's passing. It gives our family great comfort knowing she lived a good life and is now at Peace."
Words of comfort have been pouring in for the famous talk show host since the news of her mother's death.
According to PEOPLE, Winfrey's spokesperson said that Lee was buried in a private funeral. She was predeceased by two of her children, Jeffrey Lee and Patricia Lee Lloyd.
The "Greenleaf" star's mother later welcomed another girl, also named Patricia, but placed her up for adoption in 1963. Patricia reached out to her mother and sister and the three united in 2010.
Lee did housekeeping until Winfrey became successful with "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Thereafter, the host retired both her parents. In an interview with Barbara Walters, Oprah revealed why:
“[I wanted] to take care of them and to provide for them and to make sure that they never had to want for anything as they tried to do for me."
Lee, born in 1935 in Mississippi, was forced to have her mother raise Winfrey for six years while she worked as a housemaid.
Winfrey's mother separated from her father, Vernon Winfrey, soon after they welcomed their daughter. Lee initially wanted to name her child Orpah, as from the Bible, but the constant mispronunciation made it impossible.
When Winfrey and her mother were later reunited, their relationship had its challenges. The media mogul was raped for a number of years while in her mother's care.
“I am reminded every day of my life. And I am reminded because I never want to forget it."— The Root (@TheRoot) June 11, 2018
Oprah Winfrey explains why she keeps a six-foot painting of an enslaved mother and child in her home: https://t.co/wO7BdlbBoZ pic.twitter.com/czvtHi0c3f
However, Winfrey successfully overcame her past to become the legend she is today. Though she never got married, she has reportedly been with her partner Stedman Graham since 1986.
She also went on to meet her best friend who would help her with whatever issues she faced. In the interview with Walters, Winfrey broke down as she spoke about her years-long best friend.
“She is the mother I never had. She is the sister everybody would want. She is the friend that everybody deserves. I don’t know a better person.”
Thanks to King, Winfrey never had to go to therapy, she said. We sure hope that with King's wise words of comfort, Winfrey will be able to overcome the devastating loss of her mother.