Earlier this month, reports started swirling that Oprah Winfrey was surprised when her “secret son” approached her in New York City.
But now, the 61-year-old is coming clean about the mysterious man she ran into after a taping of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
The media mogul explains that the person who approached her, Calvin Mitchell, was NOT her birth son, saying:
“I met Calvin around the early ’90s, I think it was 1992. I was doing a film for television called There Are No Children Here. We were shooting in the projects in Chicago and I was sitting on set during a break, and this cute little sparkly-eyed boy came underneath the yellow tape to hand me a soda. I was so charmed by him that I started talking to him about his family, his school life, and found out that he was in a situation where his mother didn’t have a job and they were stuck in the projects.”
Although she had no biological relation to Calvin, the TV personality revealed that she did express an interest in the young boy and his family.
She personally relocated them outside the projects, got his mother a job, and enrolled the child in a private school. However, the talk show host learned that he wasn’t going to class, and decided to visit, in order to figure out what was wrong.
Calvin’s parents explained they didn’t have any clocks in their house, so they couldn’t wake up on time to get their son to the facility.
So, Oprah and her partner, Stedman Graham, bought them clocks and taught them how to get the alarms to work. However, the boy eventually got kicked out of school.
But, the influential celebrity wasn’t ready to give up that easily, saying:
“I had a long conversation with him about how disappointed I was but I was going to give him another chance. I found a school in Mississippi that was a private boarding school because I thought if I could remove him from the environment that he’d been accustomed to growing up in, that maybe that would be helpful to him.”
However, Calvin — who was 16 at the time — didn’t want to finish out his education there because he didn’t get along with the teachers.
The former journalist tried to convince him to stay, remembering:
“I said, ‘Calvin, this is the moment. This is a seminal moment for you. I know you are 16 and can’t see the road ahead, but if you leave this school and refuse to get an education — I have tried to offer you an education twice — there isn’t another school I can put you in. If you leave this school, I am done. There is nothing else I can do.’ … And that was my last conversation with Calvin in the early ’90s.”
When the powerful woman finally ran into him earlier this month outside the Ed Sullivan Theater, she didn’t recognize him at first.
Once she realized she was talking to Calvin, Oprah asked him why he went to the tabloids. She had suspected that he shared his side of the story with media outlets after she was asked to comment about her “son.”
But, after the exchange she learned that the young man didn’t have the best intentions when he bumped into her:
“As I left, and he was looking so forlorn, he was like, ‘Can I speak to you?’ So I said to somebody on my team, ‘Will somebody get Calvin’s number so I can contact him later?’ I didn’t realize the whole thing was a setup.”
As soon as she figured out Calvin was playing her, she no longer wanted to speak to him, and felt disappointed by the whole thing.
The lovely lady feels she couldn’t spend enough time with him as a child to truly help him, admitting:
“I learned from that experience, if you really want to change somebody’s life, you gotta be able to spend enough time with them to change the way they think about what their life can be. It isn’t enough to give a person a new life or money or a new car, you have to teach them how to fish themselves.”
We feel terrible that this happened to Oprah, because she was just trying to open her heart and help a young boy, who only ended up attempting to use her celebrity and abuse her generosity.
[Image via Andres Otero/WENN.]