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April 23, 2014

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Oprah Winfrey Relative Says Kitty Kelley Lied About Father's Paternity in Tell-All Biography

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Controversy continues around celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley's newly released 'Oprah: A Biography," which documents the life of celebrated media maven Oprah Winfrey.

Last week, Bill O'Reilly confronted Kelley on his Fox News talk show, 'The O'Reilly Factor,' saying he never had a phone call with Winfrey, like the tome suggests.

During her press run to promote the unauthorized biography, the 68-year-old author said that Winfrey's cousin, Katherine Carr Esters, whom Oprah calls Aunt Katherine, told her the details of Winfrey's paternity, but Kelley chose not to include the name of Winfrey's biological father in the book. Instead, she vowed to personally share the name with Winfrey herself.

Now, Esters is claiming that she did not reveal details of Winfrey's paternity to Kelley. And the best-selling author is not taking the news sitting down.

Esters told Mississippi newspaper The Clarion Ledger that if she was able to talk to Winfrey, she would say, "Kitty Kelley misquoted me when she said I told her who your father was. How could I know? That's all I'd want to tell her."

Esters, 82, is remorseful that she participated in an interview with Kelley for the controversial tell-all.

"I'm sorry this book, portraying her falsely, was ever written and that I participated in answering questions," she added.

Kelley has said that Esters was one of the most revealing of the 800-plus subjects interviewed for the 525-page book. She stands by her work and took to her blog to defend the validity of the biography.

In addition to saying she is "not surprised, but disappointed" in Esters's claims, Kelley infers that "she may have come under some pressure" to recant their earlier conversations.

"I will have my representatives contact Ms. Esters to formally request that she release me from my promise to her not to reveal the identity of Ms. Winfrey's father, which she shared with me in her home on July 30, 2007," she said.

"Ms. Esters was both forthcoming and candid in sharing with me her conflicted feelings about Oprah and in revealing to me the identity of Oprah's biological father."

Kelley recounted that her conversations with Esters spanned three days, from July 30 until Aug. 1 of 2007, in-person at Esters' Mississippi home and subsequently on the phone, on Aug. 7-Oct.9 , 2007 and Feb.5, 2008.

She posted a picture of the two women from their time together and furthers that they "maintained a written correspondence" and that Esters supplied her with four of the photos she used for the final book.

Kelley added, "If Ms. Esters agrees, I will write a personal letter to Oprah Winfrey and share with her all the information which Ms. Esters gave to me."

Winfrey's spokeswoman, Angela DePaul, said that Winfrey "hasn't spoken with her [Esters]."

On Monday, Winfrey made her first public comments about the book while presenting an award to her best friend, Gayle King, in New York.

"Last week was a rough week for Gayle, when a so-called biography came out," Winfrey said in front of a well-heeled crowd at the the New York Women in Communications' annual Matrix Awards

"Every day she's getting herself more and more worked up about all of my new daddies that are now showing up. New daddies who are saying, 'Hello, daughter, call me, I need a new roof.' Well, this too shall pass."



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