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Oprah Winfrey Confesses Drug Use


February 1995

During a show about women drug users, talk show host Oprah Winfrey made an emotional confession to using cocaine in her early twenties, calling it the "greatest secret of my life" (The Oprah Winfrey Show, Jan. 13, 1995; Ellen Edwards, "Oprah Winfrey Admits Drug Use," The Washington Post, Jan. 13, 1995, p. 1).

Deborah Johns, a spokeswoman for the show, said Winfrey "made a spontaneous admission to mothers battling drug addiction that she had also used drugs."

Winfrey's statement from the show:

I relate to your story so much. In my twenties, I have done this drug [cocaine]. I know exactly what you're talking about. It is my life's great big secret. It is such a secret because I realize that the public person that I have become, if the story were ever revealed, the tabloids would exploit it and what a big issue it would be. But I was involved with a man in my twenties who introduced me to [cocaine]. ... I always felt that the drug itself was not the problem, but that I was addicted to the man. I've often said over the years in my attempt to come out and say it, I have said many times, "I did things in my twenties I was ashamed of," "I've done things I've felt guilty about." And that is my life's great by secret that's been held over my head. ... I understand the same and I understand the guilt, I understand the secrecy, I understand all that. But what I know is the spirit of God inside all of us. There is nothing greater than the spirit within you to overcome this. You and God can conquer this.