Everything We Know About Oprah Winfrey And Stedman Graham’s Nearly Four-Decade Romance
Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham, a media mogul and educator, have been in a committed relationship since the mid-1980s. Despite never officially marrying, they've shared a strong bond and supported each other's careers.
Their enduring partnership has been marked by respect, love, and individual growth, inspiring many with their connection.
Oprah Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954, in Kosciusko, Mississippi, into a challenging environment. Raised by her grandmother, Oprah found solace in reading and public speaking, foreshadowing her future career. Despite adversity, her determination and intelligence shone through.
Her future partner was born just a few years earlier.
Stedman Graham was born in New Jersey on March 6th, 1951, and was one of six children. He grew up to receive a bachelor's degree in social work from Hardin-Simmons University and then a master's degree in education from Ball State University.
He went on to start his career in public relations.
Oprah Manifested Him In 1986
In 1986, Oprah and Stedman met after Oprah had had a rocky dating history. "I'd been through a lot of 'woof woofs.’ You get to the point when you say, ‘No more.’" Oprah said of the time.
"I actually said, ‘This is what I want. Someone who is kind. Someone who is loyal.’ And that’s what I have."
Stedman's Single Status
Stedman was no stranger to serious relationships when he met Oprah! In 1974, Stedman had actually been married before to a woman named Glenda, with whom he had a daughter named Wendy.
He was also in a relationship when he met Oprah, although there wasn't any overlap! He was dating news anchor Robin Robinson from 1982 to 1986.
Then They Met
"I had seen a particular man around town, but he was always with the same girlfriend, so I didn't pay much attention," Oprah revealed in a letter about when they met.
“One day, though, we were both visiting a mutual friend who was ill..." she continued on.
The Two Went Out
"The guy with the girlfriend had come to the friend's home alone, and so had I. We left together, and I asked if he wanted to get a [drink]," Oprah revealed.
She didn't know that asking that man for a drink on that day was going to change her life!
Off To An Interesting Start
Oprah acknowledged in her letter that some fans might be surprised that she asked Stedman out for a drink.
"Yes, I drank a lot...and wore cowboy boots every day," Oprah wrote. "He said he didn't drink. (Still doesn’t—not one sip of nothin’ alcoholic since I’ve known him.)"
Oprah Had Some Misconceptions
Because of Stedman's height and how handsome he was, Oprah assumed he would be a player, and she wasn't the only one! The producers of her show tried to warn her away from him.
"They figured if he looked like that, he either had to be a jerk or want something," she said.
But She Was Proven Wrong
Oprah went on to say that Stedman was someone who was there for her no matter what her situation was.
"He's kind and supportive," she said of her longtime partner. "Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo. But you want someone who’ll help you catch the bus."
In 1987 Stedman Made History
On a 1987 episode of Oprah's talk show, Stedman called into the show himself and asked Oprah a very important question about another important person in her life.
"Your friend Gayle [King]—who you talk to about six times a day—every time I see her in person, I'm wondering what she knows about me," Stedman said.
He Questioned Her About Gayle
"I kind of have to look down when I see her, because I don't know if she knows how many gray hairs I have on my head or what color my toes are," he joked.
Oprah avoided the question good-naturedly and told Stedman they could talk about it later at home!
Gayle And Oprah Are Very Close
It's easy to see why Stedman might ask Oprah about Gayle — the two are incredibly close friends and have been for decades!
"Something about this relationship feels otherworldly to me, like it was designed by a power and a hand greater than my own," Oprah said about her friendship with Gayle.
Oprah And Stedman Got Engaged In 1992
On one seemingly random date night, Oprah asked, "Is this the proposal?"
Stedman replied, “I want you to marry me. I think it's time.” Naturally, Oprah answered, “Ah, that’s really great.” It might not be as romantic or gushing as we might have imagined, but it suits this couple perfectly!
Then Comes Marriage?
Despite the engagement in 1992, Oprah and Stedman didn't have any plans to get married quickly (or maybe even at all)!
In fact, the couple hit a ton of other milestones well before even any rumors of a wedding took off. Even so, their fans waited anxiously for any news.
In 2015 Their Family Grew
In 2015, the couple celebrated a pretty big milestone — Stedman became a grandfather!
In his first marriage, Stedman became a father to a baby girl by the name of Wendy, but in 2015, Wendy was all grown up and had her first child herself — a daughter named Cadence!
In 2017 Oprah Spoke About Their Long Engagement
Oprah revealed why they'd never been married in an interview with Vogue.
"Nobody believes it, but it's true," she said of why they weren't married and how they'd never even discussed it. “The only time I brought it up was when I said to Stedman, 'What would have happened if we had actually gotten married?’
The Answer Was Shocking
"And the answer is: 'We wouldn't be together.’ We would not have stayed together because marriage requires a different way of being in this world," Oprah revealed.
Oprah then got pretty real about why she felt that way and why the couple had even become engaged in the first place if they never had plans to wed.
Oprah Explained She Had Doubts
"I had doubts," Oprah said about being engaged in her letter about her relationship in her own magazine.
"I realized I didn't actually want a marriage. I wanted to be asked. I wanted to know he felt I was worthy of being his missus," she then went on to say.
Oprah Kept It Real
"But," Oprah continued to say, "I didn't want the sacrifices, the compromises, the day-in-day-out commitment required to make a marriage work."
However, it is that Stedman and Oprah approached their relationship, and potential marriage seemed to work out for them because the two of them would continue to thrive together.
In 2018 They Made A Rare Public Appearance
In 2018 the two went to the Golden Globes together in a rare public outing! Despite being together for decades, the two don't make many public appearances together as Oprah has said every time there's "a new photograph" of the two, there's "a new story."
We can definitely imagine that would be annoying!
Stedman Has Spoken Out
"We have what a lot of people have who are in a relationship, and we've been in a relationship for a long time," Stedman has also said.
But one difference between this couple and others is the massive amount of success and fame that Oprah has gathered over her illustrious career.
Stedman Isn't Bothered
"That's not always an easy thing to do when you’re a man in a relationship with a very powerful woman," Stedman went on.
"And so I’m not threatened by her fame or her success or all of that, so that’s who she is. It doesn’t have anything to do with how I define myself."
In 2018 Oprah Revealed Their Perfect Date Night
"I am a really good cook," Oprah revealed. “My favorite date night is to make him black-eyed peas and cornbread as a surprise for dinner. And then honey—hush. That's all you need, some black-eyed peas and cornbread."
"That’s it. Perfect date night. Me cooking and then... it’s on," she went on.
In 2019 Stedman Wrote A Book
Stedman is actually a best-selling author who has written a number of books, and in 2019 he released his 12th book called Identity Leadership. Oprah shared a video during this time, and included a short but sweet message for her partner, revealing his nickname.
"Honey Graham, I know how much this means to you. Congratulations!" she wrote.
In 2020 They Quarantined Together
"He'd been on planes, so Stedman is like, 'What's the procedure for coming home?' The procedure is... you ain't coming and sleeping in my bed!" Oprah revealed about the start of 2020.
The two shared a few moments of their life in quarantine together, including one hilarious moment surrounding banana bread.
The Banana Bread Incident
In a video shared to her Instagram page, Oprah revealed one quarantine "scandal" at their home where she questioned Stedman on what happened to the banana bread she had made for the family.
"I had it all," Stedman admits with a smile to the camera. "Every last piece. It was so good."
In 2022 Oprah Called Them "Spiritual Partners"
Oprah explained that the term is about being truthful with each other, including "the recognition that you're both in the relationship to grow into who you’re meant to be as individuals as well as as a couple."
It makes sense that Oprah and Stedman don't feel the need to get married to confirm this kind of partnership!
The Two Have Been Through So Much
Over the almost four decades that Stedman and Oprah have been together, they've gone through so much together, from the birth of grandchildren to the passing of Oprah's father to everything in between.
It's pretty clear that these two love and respect each other greatly and often sing each other's praises.
Oprah Says Stedman's Name Suits Him
Stedman may be a pretty rare name, but Oprah believes that it perfectly suits her partner!
"He's appropriately named because he’s steady as a mountain. Even-tempered, accountable, trustworthy, patient," she has said about his unique but very fitting moniker. To maintain such a stable relationship with someone whose life is as grand as Oprah's, this must be very important!
Many Happy Years In The Future
It's pretty easy to see why Stedman and Oprah's relationship has been so successful and long-lasting, even with how low-key and private they tend to keep their business!
We can only hope that they continue to have many years and important milestones together in the future because they are definitely couple goals!