Oprah Reflects on Joan Rivers’ Comments About Her Weigh


Talk show host Oprah Winfrey recently opened up about a painful memory from her first appearance on ‘The Tonight Show’ in 1985, where host Joan Rivers made harsh comments about her weight. Speaking on The Jamie Kern Lima podcast, Winfrey recalled the incident, saying it left her feeling shamed.

Winfrey, who was promoting her successful show ‘A.M. Chicago,’ shared how the conversation unexpectedly shifted to her size. “Joan Rivers turns to me and she said, ‘Tell me why are you so fat?'” Winfrey, now 70, recounted. “On national television, and I didn’t know what to do with that. I just said, ‘Oh, I just love potato chips, Joan.'”

Rivers, who passed away in 2014, went on to tell Winfrey, “Shame on you,” and added, “I’ll let you come back if you lose 15 lbs. You need to lose 15 lbs.” Winfrey admitted that she accepted the shaming at the time, thinking, “How dare me, be sitting up here on ‘The Tonight Show.'”

Winfrey revealed that despite agreeing to lose weight, she instead gained an additional 10 lbs. after the appearance. She mentioned going to a “health retreat,” which was then referred to as a “fat farm,” to try and lose weight.

At that time, Winfrey was also grappling with the fear that her weight had cost her a role in ‘The Colour Purple.’ However, a pivotal phone call from producer Steven Spielberg changed everything. Spielberg warned her, “You lose a pound, you could lose this part.”

This moment turned out to be life-changing for Winfrey. “The instant I let it go was the greatest life lesson I have ever received because I physically felt the release,” she said. Winfrey eventually landed the role of Sofia in ‘The Colour Purple,’ earning her an Academy Award nomination.

Reflecting on the experience, Winfrey shared, “That became my grounding teaching for the rest of my life and career. Do everything you can, work as hard as you can, and then let it go.”

This story, first reported by People, highlights the resilience and lessons learned by Winfrey through a challenging and transformative period in her life.

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