Oprah Winfrey makes candid revelation about her inner circle in new podcast interview

Oprah Winfrey has opened up about her 'true' friendships

Oprah Winfrey attends the Los Angeles premiere of OWN's 'Love Is_' held at NeueHouse Hollywood on June 11, 2018
(Image credit: Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage via Getty)

Oprah Winfrey has opened up about her tight-knit inner circle during an appearance alongside long-time friend Maria Shriver on the Making Space with Hoda Kotb podcast.

The popular former talk show host has amassed thousands of fans across the world and has bravely spoken out about everything from heartbreaking abuse during childhood to her experience as a childless woman. She is well-known to Hollywood stars and royalty alike, with her revelatory interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle earlier this year sending shockwaves through the Royal Family and even surprising her

Despite her many connections, however, Oprah has now candidly revealed that she prefers to keep her inner circle small. Whilst some fans might imagine she has an extensive network of close celebrity friends after many years in the industry, Oprah admitted to podcast host and journalist Hoda Kotb that the opposite is actually true.

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“I don’t have a lot of friends,” she told listeners, before revealing she's got just three very close friends, including her personal trainer Bob Greene. “Everybody knows Gayle [King]. There’s Gayle, there’s Maria [Shriver], there’s Bob. And that’s about it, you know?”


Oprah went on to reveal that she met broadcast journalist Gayle and journalist Maria around the same time and she’s been friends with the pair for a remarkable 42 years now. And it seems for much of her life, having just three wonderful close friends was all the talk show host needed. 

She explained, "I never really expanded that circle until recently. You know, I had become friends with a couple of people in my later adult life in the past five years."

The strength of Oprah’s decades-long friendship with Maria in particular is something the pair shared new insight on during their enlightening podcast appearance, with Oprah describing it as a “divine moment”.

Oprah Winfrey and Maria Shriver attends the Los Angeles premiere of HBO Documentary Films "Paycheck To Paycheck"

(Image credit: Photo by Paul Redmond/WireImage via Getty)

"I first met her in the bathroom [while she was working at] WJZ-TV early in the morning,” Oprah shared. “I was coming in to do the morning cut-ins and she was doing evening magazine and had been up all night."

She told host Hoda, “[Maria] was in the bathroom, literally, splashing water on her face, and we started a conversation. I forever think that that was, like, a divine moment that happened because she was one of my true, grounded friendships that carried me through my entire career."

Maria too opened up on their enduring bond, revealing that for her it was the little acts of kindness that Oprah did for her that helped cement their friendship. Even bringing her a cup of coffee, the journalist revealed, was hugely meaningful to her.

Maria Shriver and Oprah Winfrey speak during the Maria Shriver Women's Conference at the Long Beach Convention Center

(Image credit: Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

“It was so moving to me because… that’s not how I grew up, you know? Nobody brought a cup of coffee or a cup of water to me,” she said. “In a funny way, even though I had a very close relationship with my mother, I wasn’t nurtured, mothered in that way, right? And [Oprah] wasn’t mothered in her own way. But I think, in a way, we have mothered each other.”

Ultimately, as Oprah expressed in a wonderful Oprah Daily video earlier this year, she believes surrounding yourself with people who are happy for you and support you is key.

Discussing her friendship with Gayle King, Oprah declared, “Surround yourself with someone who is as happy for your happiness as you are for your happiness.”

Emma Shacklock
Emma Shacklock

Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.


Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.


In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for womanandhome.com. 


After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!