Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham have been together for much more than three decades, and also clearly, their unconventional connection is stronger than ever. Winfrey has had actually no problems bucking societal expectation of her as a woman, all while living her best life v her longtime love.

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Winfrey and also Graham, a businessman who has actually authored numerous self-help and also business-related books, met in 1986 -- the year she now-iconic speak show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, debuted -- at a charity event. Graham to be divorced and also had a daughter, Wendy. In a January 2020 pillar for O, The Oprah Magazine, Winfrey recalled conference him and being wary the his good looks off the bat.

"I believed he was nice enough, yet I wasn"t the impressed," she wrote of Graham, who"s6feet,7inchestall. "He was polite, yes, and kind. The type of guy who sits v an noble friend. Tall and also handsome, for sure. But actually as well handsome, i thought, to it is in interested in me. Ns figured he should be a player. So did every my producers. Lock warned me no to get associated with that Stedman guy."

"So ns proceeded through caution, even with a friendship," she continued. "It wasn"t till months later, when I learned he"d damaged up through his girlfriend and had been inquiring about my dating status, the I provided him a serious thought."

Graham finished up proving all her friend wrong.

"He"s kind and also supportive," she said People in 1992, referring to her beau together "my Steddy." "Lots of world want come ride v you in the limo. Yet you desire someone who"ll aid you catch the bus."


In a February 2020 interview v Hoda Kotb, Winfreysaid she had been hoping because that someone favor Graham before meeting him.

"I walk manifest him due to the fact that I"d been through a lot of "woof woofs,"" she admitted. "You get to the allude when you say "no more." ns actually stated this is what ns want. Someone who is kind. Someone who is loyal. And also that"s what ns have."

Graham has certainly been supportive of Winfrey"s career and also ambitions throughout the years. ET spoke through Winfrey earlier in 1987 on the collection of The Oprah Winfrey Show, and long before serious rumors started rumbling 30 years later that she would certainly actually take into consideration running for president, she revealed the Graham was already encouraging she to operation for the greatest office in the country.

"He"s a very special guy in that he"s not the the very least bit intimidated by me or what i do," she told ET at the time. "He claims to me all the time, "Look, I desire you to it is in president... You want to be president? run for president, I"ll occupational on the campaign." So, I"m really grateful to have somebody like that, that doesn"t desire to be in the limelight through me, isn"t trying-- as soon as you walk right into the room, isn"t in search of all the cameras. And, so, i don"t know what will happen."

After a couple years the dating, the couple already feel the press to take the next step in the relationship. In a rarely 1989 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Graham was asked around tying the knot v Winfrey.

"We will announce happily when we"re acquiring married once we decide, and not before," Graham said.

In People"s 1992 article, Graham"s ex-girlfriend, Chicago television news anchor Robin Robinson, listed that he wasn"t one to rush into marriage.

"He"s a proud man, and he’s marriage-shy," Robinson said. "The general ill-informed opinion is that Oprah didn"t want to marry him. I would question that speculation. He was hurt by his very first marriage not functioning out, and also he doesn"t favor making mistakes."

Still, Graham did popular music the concern in 1992. Winfrey described his matter-of-fact proposal in she interview with People. Winfrey told the magazine that Graham said her, "I want you to marry me. I think it"s time."

Winfrey"s reply? "Ah, that"s really great."

Of course, the two never did get around to tie the knot. Throughout a 2015 chat through Shonda Rhimes for OWN"s SuperSoul Sunday, she admitted she knew immediately that she didn"t really wanted to obtain married, despite she did desire Graham to propose.

"The moment he inquiry me come marry him, ns was like "Oh, God! currently I actually have to get married?"" she recalled, sharing that they at first agreed to postpone your wedding -- i m sorry was supposed to happen in 1993 -- but then never ever spoke of that again. "But what ns realized is, i don"t desire to it is in married. Because I might not have actually the life the I created for myself ... I knew that ns couldn"t execute it."

In a 2017 interview with Vogue, she was asked around what not obtaining married has actually taught her around women in society.

"Live life ~ above your own terms," she replied, insisting that marriage was never even an concern she or Graham lugged up again after the proposed.

"Nobody believes it, however it"s true," she said. "The just time I lugged it increase was as soon as I stated to Stedman, "What would have actually happened if we had actually obtained married?" and the prize is: "We wouldn"t be together." We would certainly not have stayed together, because marriage requires a different means of being in this world. His translate of what it method to be a husband and what the would average for me to it is in a wife would have been pretty traditional, and also I would certainly not have actually been able come fit right into that."

In her revealing O, The Oprah Magazine obelisk from January, she as soon as again gained candid about not really wanting to obtain married when he proposed.

"The moment after I claimed yes to his proposal, I had actually doubts," she wrote. "I realized i didn"t actually desire a marriage. I wanted to be asked. I want to know he felt i was worthy of gift his missus, yet I didn"t want the sacrifices, the compromises, the day-in-day-out commitment compelled to do a marital relationship work. Mine life through the display was my priority, and also we both knew it. He and also I agree that had actually we bound the marital knot, we would certainly not still be together."

In 2016, Winfrey made sure to personally shoot down tabloid rumors that the two had acquired married.

"Six human being who recognize me well have referred to as today congratulating me or surprised castle weren"t invited to my wedding," she tweeted. "IT"S not TRUE!!"

6 civilization who know me well have referred to as today congratulating me or surprised they weren't invite to mine wedding.IT' s no TRUE!!

— Oprah Winfrey (

Winfrey has additionally talked around the pair"s decision to no have children together -- though she had actually previously taken into consideration it.

"At one suggest in Chicago I had actually bought second apartment since I was thinking, "I"m going to need room for children,"" Winfrey called People in a 2019 interview.

Eventually, she said she didn"t have the appropriate focus to dedicate to increasing a child.

"I realized, "Whoa, I"m talking to a the majority of messed-up people, and they room messed up since they had actually mothers and also fathers that were not mindful of just how serious that job is,"" she said. "I don"t have the capacity to compartmentalize the way I see other women do. It is why, transparent my years, ns have had the highest regard for females who choose to be at house your kids, since I don"t know just how you do that all day long. Nobody gives women the credit transaction they deserve."

"I have actually not had one regret around that," she added. "I likewise believe that component of the factor why ns don"t have actually regrets is since I obtained to fulfill it in the method that was best for me: the Oprah Winfrey leadership Academy for Girls in southern Africa. Those girls fill the maternal fold that I maybe would have had. In fact, castle overfill -- I"m overflowed with maternal."

During an illustration on Gwyneth Paltrow"s The Goop Podcast in march 2018, she stated she never really felt the desire to have actually kids, return she often felt push from loved ones to have actually them.

"I don"t think i would have actually been a an excellent mother for infant children, becauseI require you to talk to me, and I need you to tell me what"s wrong," she bluntly shared."I can"t just figure it out. And I was constantly -- ns knew this around myself. Ns was always much better with youngsters once they turned 2andahalf, 3. I had actually a actual resonance with them. Gayle was like, "Don"t girlfriend love babies?" ns was like,"Oh, babies room fine."It didn"t feel prefer it to be for me."

Winfrey has actually shared the Graham has never pressured her to fit into the stereotypical wife and mother roles because they weren"t married.

"I supplied to think around this every the time, that ns was working these 17-hour days, and so were my producers, and also then i go home and also I have actually my two dogs and also I have actually Stedman, who"s letting me be who I must be in the world," she told People in she 2019 interview. "He"s never ever demanding anything indigenous me like, "Where"s my breakfast? Where"s mine dinner?’ Never any kind of of that, i beg your pardon I thought would have changed had us married. Both he and also I now say, "If we had actually married, we would not be together." No question about it -- we would not remain married, because of what that would have meant to him, and I would have had actually my own ideas around it."

Both 66-year-old Winfrey and also 69-year-old Graham urge the factor their relationship has actually been able come last for so long is because he has actually his own interests, and he is not characterized by just being Winfrey"s longtime boyfriend. Graham is absolutely successful on his own. He graduated from Hardin-Simmons University with a degree in social work in 1974 and also earned a master"s degree in education and learning from sphere State college in 1979. The went on come have an extremely successful career in publicly relations, and one the his clients was the late Maya Angelou.

"Our partnership works since he produced an identity beyond being "Oprah"s man,"" Winfrey wrote in her magazine column. "And due to the fact that we share every the worths that matter (integrity being number one). And also because us relish seeing the various other fulfill and also manifest your destiny and purpose."

During Graham"s current appearance top top The Kyle & Jackie O Show earlier this month, that talked about maintaining his personality while date the beloved media mogul.

"I"m characterized a lot through my relationship with Oprah, however it has actually nothing to do with me," Graham said. "That"s just how you specify me! friend don"t have actually the tools to define yourself. So, for me, I"m defined a lot by my connection with Oprah, but it has actually nothing to do with me."

Graham emphasize that focusing on his very own interests and also path has helped him and also Winfrey continue to be on same footing all these years.

"That"s exactly how you define me, it"s not just how I specify myself, i beg your pardon is why I have the right to maintain the equality through someone who is unbelievable, since I"m not focused on their advancement as a means to equalize and also create freedom," he explained. "I"m focused on my own development. I"m arising a process of constant improvement every day based upon my skills, talents, abilities, purpose and passions. That"s what renders me happy."

"So, i don"t care what girlfriend do," he continued. "I could care less who you room or what you execute or what you"ve been able come accomplish, since it has nothing to carry out with that I am together a person."

That"s not to say the Winfrey and also Graham don"t proudly support eachother"s separation, personal, instance accomplishments. Once Graham created his 12th book, Identity Leadership, which came out last May, Winfrey common a video clip of him through a sweet message, revealing among her pet names for him.

"Honey Graham, i know just how much this way to you. Congratulations!" she wrote.

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During Graham"s illustration on The Ellen DeGeneres Show that month to promote his new book, that talked about the two of them supporting each other"s endeavors wholeheartedly.

"The thing about our partnership is I desire the best for her," he said. "So, I"m committed to her happiness, therefore that"s good for her, and also I desire her to be the finest she can possibly be, and also she"s done a pretty good job of doing it."

"For me, I"ve been able to discover my very own happiness, and develop my very own skills, my very own talents, my very own abilities -- and I"m satisfied through that," that added. "So, the combination, as soon as you have actually a good partner that"s able come self-actualize your potential and also you"re able come self-actualize yours, one and also one equals around six."

The pair also has no problem spending time apart and also putting us first. In March, Winfrey common that she do Graham quarantine in their guesthouse in Santa Barbara, California,amid the coronavirus pandemic to defend her own wellness in one interview with Arianna Davis, Oprah Magazine"s digital director.

"He"s at the guest house, because you all understand I had actually pneumonia late last year...I had just gotten off the antibiotics last week, due to the fact that I had a bronchial infection," she explained, noting that Graham didn"t take it the outbreak as seriously together others as soon as it first began, and was at first a bit an ext cavalier v his travels.

"Stedman did no arrive native Chicago till Thursday, he had actually been speak in St. Louis... He"d been on planes," Oprah explained. "So Stedman is like, "What"s the procedure because that coming home?" The procedure is… friend ain"t coming and sleeping in my bed! Literally, he goes, "I"m not?" and also I go, "Have you no been paying fist to the news? social distancing does not mean you go and sleep in the very same bed with the person! when you just gained off American Airlines!" mine friends to speak "Oh, isn"t Stedman upset?" He"s really not. He"s happy to store me safe."

"I"m never bored, because I constantly have myself," she added. "I never feel alone, have never feel alone, due to the fact that I just love being through myself."

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The couple eventually reunited after 14 days, and they lovingly joked ~ above Instagram around their time apart. Back Winfrey has been really private about their connection throughout this 36 years, both she and also Graham have given her pan this form of glimpse into their bond. In 2012, he revealed the Winfrey often cooks for him.

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"Chefs don"t have actually anything on her," that told O, The Oprah Magazine about her an abilities in the kitchen. "Anything she cooks i really gain eating, and also I evaluate it really much."

She climate talked about her famous "Love Sandwich" -- a turkey panini -- that she first started making just for him.

"It ended up being the Love Sandwich because I first started make it just for Stedman," she shared. "I"ve just made it because that a pair of various other people, so if you"ve had actually me make the Love Sandwich for you, you need to be somebody I really treatment about."

Graham added, "She makes an excellent pancakes, too. She makes an excellent eggs, she makes great steaks -- ns mean, you can go on and on and on. She"s just an exceptional cook and superb person."

In 2018, Winfrey defined their perfect day night.

"My favorite day night is to make him black-eyed peas and also cornbread together a surprised for dinner and also then, honey, hush, that"s all you need," she said with a laugh during an Instagram Live session.

In 2019, Winfrey likewise surprisingly talked around Graham"s reaction when she as soon as tried to pull off a sexy surprise for him.

"One time i tried this, and also this was so numerous years ago, I gained this entirety negligee thing and also I"m standing at the stairs when he come in, and also he literally comes in -- Stedman -- walks right past me and says, "What space you doing?"" she hilariously recalled in a video with King.

After all these years, the two are obviously simply fine through their cozy exclusive life and also not often appearing publicly together. Winfrey explained why throughout her podcast chat with Paltrow.

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"I"ve lived, as you have actually lived, every various other week in the tabloids ... It"s additionally why I stopped making as numerous public appearances through Stedman," she shared. "Because ns realized the every time there"sa brand-new photograph, there"sa new story. It"s one invitation."


But perhaps many tellingly around the nature of their relationship and also why the works, Winfrey has defined their union as a "spiritual partnership" together opposed to a marriage.

"Anyone who"s ever met him is always amazed by what a genuine gentleman that is," she gushed about him in she magazine obelisk in January. "He"s so positive. Wants the best for me and everyone that knows. Truly wishes people well. Doesn"t curse. (I"ve been well-known to.) Never have I heard that gossip or to speak a an adverse thing around anyone. (I have, many of times.) He"s appropriately named since he"s stable as a mountain. Even-tempered, accountable, trustworthy, patient."

"It"s what Gary Zukav specifies as a spiritual partnership: partnership in between equals because that the objective of spiritual growth," she added of your relationship. "I know for sure it"s the ultimate flower on mine mind."

For much more on Winfrey and Graham"s relationship, watch the video below:

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