The Relationship Advice Oprah Got From Maya Angelou

Oprah in A Wrinkle in Time

People typically turn to Oprah Winfrey to get advice, particularly relationship advice. But nobody is infallible; even Oprah occasionally needs notes of encouragement from time-to-time, and that's exactly what she got from Maya Angelou. As the actress/talk show mogul/would-be presidential candidate recently revealed, she'd turn to the author and civil rights activist in times of dire straits. Her words of courage and conviction helped her immensely, especially when it came to Winfrey's personal life.

Oprah Winfrey made this revelation during the inaugural episode of Gwyneth Paltrow's The Goop Podcast. Whenever Oprah was troubled by pesky gossip and false rumors spreading around the tabloids, she found Maya Angelou's positive notes of encouragement would drive her forward.

Every time I would get so upset about it, Maya would say, 'Babe, you don't have anything to do with that.' I'd say, 'But they're saying, and it's not true. You don't know what it's like when people are saying things about--'... It's been happening so long. She actually said, 'Whoever's sitting at the typewriter, they're thinking, What can we say this week that's going to sell some stories?'

That certainly gives a good sense of perspective. Maya Angelou's thoughtful commentary helped Oprah Winfrey through her relationship with her longtime partner, Stedman Graham. She noted that it's the gossip circles that keep Oprah from talking extensively about her committed relationship with Graham, who've she's been with since the mid-'80s.

It's also why I stopped making as many public appearances with Stedman, because I realized that every time there's a new photograph, there's a new story.

Although Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham have shared a relationship together for over 30 years, they haven't seriously considered getting married -- surprisingly enough. Oprah discussed the topic of marriage in an interview with Vogue. Here's what she told the publication back in August.

Nobody believes it, but it's true. The only time I brought it up was when I said to Stedman, 'What would have happened if we had actually gotten married?' 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. His interpretation of what it means to be a husband and what it would mean for me to be a wife would have been pretty traditional, and I would not have been able to fit into that.

Oprah is a wise woman, and she's a very self-aware. She knows what's best for her, and continues moving forward with her fantastic career and relationship. Thankfully she had the late Maya Angelou to help her in moments of doubt. Oprah can be seen in A Wrinkle in Time, in theaters now. She channeled Angelou in her emotional performance, and it's clear they shared a loving, dedicated bond over the years. Those relationships are great to have in life.

Will Ashton

Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.