By Bridget Bland, BlackVoices.com
She's amassed eighteen Emmy Awards, been chosen as one of Time magazine's "Most Influential People in the World" five times over and been at the top of Forbes "Richest Americans List" numerous times.
We know her net worth is currently at two and a half billion dollars and would like to think that we know Oprah Winfrey's life story inside and out.
A little black girl from rural Mississippi is abused. She grows up promiscuous and gets pregnant. After a miscarriage, she is shipped to live with her father who provides strict discipline, which results in the teenager excelling in school. She wins beauty pageants and transitions to working as a television news reporter and anchor in Baltimore. She gets her own morning talk show in Chicago and competes with Phil Donahue. Soon thereafter she effortlessly catapults to become the most successful talk show host of all-time and the first African-American woman billionaire.
But that's not it.
There seems to be more to learn about the reserved media mogul -- and some of it is shared for the first time on 'Oprah: The E! True Hollywood Story,' debuting this Oct. 17, 2008 at 9 PM on E!.
Some of Winfrey's closest friends, including her best friend Gayle King, celebrity chef/ and talk show host Rachael Ray, 'The Oprah Winfrey Show' special correspondent, Lisa Ling, and superstar singer Alicia Keys are a few boldfaced names offering insight into the life and legacy of the multi-media powerhouse.
Shortly after helping Ray to launch her own talk show, reports surfaced that Winfrey and the Food Network star were in a tiff about the direction of Ray's show. In the new E! show, Ray sets the record straight, calling the rumors, "complete garbage and utterly ridiculous," adding, "I've never feuded with Oprah. I've never disagreed with Oprah. I've never not taken Oprah's advice 'cause my momma ain't raise no dummy."
Ling offers an intimate look at how vulnerable Winfrey was when her beloved dog, Sophie passed away. Ling reveals that Winfrey had a true breakdown causing show producers to halt production after a video montage of her late dog over the years.
When Winfrey speaks, America listens. The 'True Hollywood' show highlights some of the most controversial shows she has done, including the court battle that she won against cattle farmers in Texas after speaking out against beef, as well as the ups and downs of her very public weight battle. It also touches on how her viewers donated $15 million to post-Hurricane Katrina relief efforts. But, also how criticized she was after endorsing Presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama.
The show also features never-before-seen footage from inside the Johannesburg courtroom where dorm matron, Tiny Virginia Mokopo -- of Oprah's Leadership Academy for Girls -- went on trial for alleged abuse. Mokopo has pleaded not guilty and the case has been postponed until later this month.
'Black Enterprise' magazine's Sonia Alleyne reflects on Oprah's legacy in the 'True Hollywood' show, adding, "Living a life of service for Oprah is the reason she's here. It's the reason she exists."
King, Winfrey's best friend and confidante, echos that sentiment, saying that she doesn't think that Oprah should be counted out in 2010 when her show's syndication contract ends.
"I know she still so loves doing what she's doing," she says. "She's never done anything for the money, but she's in a stage in her life where if she wanted to go to her home in California and sit under a tree and read a book for the rest of her life she certainly could do that."
"But, the truth of the matter is Oprah loves working," she adds.
With her new television network, The Oprah Winfrey Network, OWN, launching Fall of 2009, we're betting King knows her best friend well.