Vernita Lee Oprah's Mother Secret Adoption Revealed

By: Kara Gilmour
Staff Writer
Published: Jan 25, 2021

Vernita Lee Oprah's Mother Secret Adoption -- Half sister? Vernita Lee, Oprah's mother, held an adoption secret for almost 50 years. Oprah Winfrey has a half sister named Patricia, but Vernita Lee never wanted it revealed.

Oprah told her audience that when Patricia was born in 1963, Winfrey was 8 and living with her father. Patricia said she had tried years ago to learn the identity of the woman who gave her up for adoption and only started to try again with the insistence of her two adult children. Patricia finally got a call from the state adoption agency, which reported that her birth mother, Vernita Lee, did not wish to meet her.

Coincidentally, on the local news, she saw a story about Oprah Winfrey's mother, who described how two of her own children had died. Those details matched information Patricia had seen in adoption papers, which indicated she had two sisters and a brother and that only the older sister was alive. Lee also said that one of the dead children was named Patricia.

"The hairs on the back of my neck stood up," Patricia said. "Because I knew one of my siblings and I shared the same name." A DNA test confirmed the two are half-sisters, according to the Miami Herald.

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