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Oprah surrounds herself with people who are as strong, supportive, wise, funny, kind and inspirational as she. After all, you are who you hang out with.

One of the most inspirational people she calls 'friend' is Maya Angelou, a motivational speaker and writer. The following is a poem written by her.

“Phenomenal Woman"

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.
I'm not cute or built to suit a fashion model's size
But when I start to tell them,
They think I'm telling lies.
I say,
It's in the reach of my arms
The span of my hips,
The stride of my step,
The curl of my lips.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

I walk into a room
Just as cool as you please,
And to a man,
The fellows stand or
Fall down on their knees.
Then they swarm around me,
A hive of honey bees.
I say,
It's the fire in my eyes,
And the flash of my teeth,
The swing in my waist,
And the joy in my feet.
I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Men themselves have wondered
What they see in me.
They try so much
But they can't touch
My inner mystery.
When I try to show them
They say they still can't see.
I say,
It's in the arch of my back,
The sun of my smile,
The ride of my breasts,
The grace of my style.
I'm a woman

Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

Now you understand
Just why my head's not bowed.
I don't shout or jump about
Or have to talk real loud.
When you see me passing
It ought to make you proud.
I say,
It's in the click of my heels,
The bend of my hair,
the palm of my hand,
The need of my care,
'Cause I'm a woman
Phenomenal woman,
That's me.

This poem was taken from Maya Angelou's home page - A page dedicated to Maya, created by students at the University of Texas.

Stedman Graham has been boyfriend of Oprah's for over ten years.

He is “my rock,” Oprah says. He also has a corny, yet cute sense of humor.

Stedman played basketball at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas and graduated in 1974. Stedman earned a graduate degree in education from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana five years later. He as a grown daughter named Wendy from a previous marriage.

Stedman now owns a Chicago-based, sports-oriented marketing and public relations firm and is founder of a non-profit organization called Athletes Against Drugs. Additionally, Stedman has written a column for Inside Sports magazine and is author of two inspirational books based on his life in sports.

Stedman grew up in the working-class community of Whitesboro, New Jersey. He often heard the discouraging remark, “nothing good comes out of Whitesboro.” Besides being too light skinned to be accepted by blacks and too dark to be accepted by whites, Stedman was taunted by classmates for having two mentally disabled younger brothers.

“I feel comfortable with who I am, although I haven’t always,” says Stedman. “I give Oprah credit for helping me understand that the source of my pain was in the past. When you’re with a powerful woman who makes more money than you – of course, she makes more money than anybody – it’s tough on a man. But if you can build something for yourself that’s special, it doesn’t matter who your mate is.”

Information taken from a Larry King Interview,, and from an official biography from Kellog University.

Oprah's best and long-time friend is Gayle King

“I never feel I’m in her shadow. I feel like I’m in her light…”

Gayle, Oprah’s closest friend was born in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She lived the childhood life that Oprah had always wanted. Gayle’s father was an electronics engineer and her mother a stay-at-home mom. She graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in psychology.

When Gayle was offered her own syndicated talk show “The Gayle King Show”, she says that Oprah encouraged the move and in fact at one time offered her the opportunity to join Harpo Productions in Chicago. Gayle turned Oprah’s offer down because she wanted to stay in Hartford where her children could see their father regularly.

She is the divorced mother of daughter, Kirby, 15, and her son, William, 14. There were rumors that their close relationships and generous gifts Oprah gave to the family contributed to Gayle’s divorce from Yale-educated lawyer Bill Bumpus after 13 years of marriage.

Stedman Graham has no worries about Gayle and Oprah's relationship, as he told her: “I think it’s therapeutic for Oprah to have someone she can talk to and tell everything about her day and everything about her week, and you know, you are that person.

Oprah once explained that their friendship began when she "was an anchorwoman, and Gayle was a production assistant. One night [in 1976], there was a terrible snowstorm, so I invited Gayle, who was then living about 35 miles away, to stay at my house. She did – and we sat up and talked until dawn! Ever since then, we talk every day, sometimes three or four times.”

Oprah explains that she and Gayle have remained friends for more than 20 years because, “In spite of all the things that have happened to me, we laugh every night about on thing or another. She absolutely keeps me grounded.”

You can get a full biography on Gale King at:


Stedman Graham Gayle King

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