Media mogul Oprah Winfrey has had her fair share of up and downs throughout her successful career, but this situation regarding a ‘secret son’ just may take the cake. Shortly after an unwarranted run-in with a man following a taping of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert earlier this month, Oprah gives the real on the individual who considered himself Winfrey’s son.
In a recent interview with Entertainment Tonight, Winfrey shares how she met a young man by the name of Calvin Mitchell while filming the television movie, There Are No Children Here in the early ‘90’s. Once the multimedia boss lady became aware of Mitchell and his family’s background, she took the chance to help them make it out of the projects and pave a better path for the future. Winfrey recalls enrolling Mitchell into a private school and moving his family into an improved living situation. But apparently, what seemed like a genuine, sweet gesture turned sour very quickly.
Once Winfrey got wind of Mitchell being expelled from school due to numerous absences from class, she decided to take another route and give Mitchell another shot by sending him to a private boarding school in Mississippi. “I had a long conversation with him about how disappointed I was, but I was going to give him another chance,” Winfrey shares. “I found a school in Mississippi that was a private boarding school because I thought if I could remove him from the environment that he’d been accustomed to growing up in, that maybe that would be helpful to him.”
Mitchell, expressing dissatisfaction with his new surroundings to Winfrey, found himself having his last conversation with Oprah during that time and took advantage of Winfrey’s kindness by selling his story to a tabloid. “When I realized the whole thing was a setup, I was no longer interested in speaking to him.” Though Oprah voices that she wasn’t hurt by it all, but rather disappointed, she took the whole situation in stride.
“I learned from that experience, if you really want to change somebody’s life, you gotta be able to spend enough time with them to change the way they think about what their life can be,” she said. “It isn’t enough to give a person a new life or money or a new car, you have to teach them how to fish themselves.”