Photograph by Annie Leibovitz
Someone we actually LOVE…
Oprah Opens Up About Depression Battle
Oprah is peaceful and prosperous. The media giant recently invited VOGUE to her 65-acre “Promised Land” estate for an intimate conversation about the ending of the “Oprah Winfrey Show” her role in the forthcoming “A Wrinkle In Time” and having “absolute joy and contentment” at 63.
At one point things get especially interesting however when O brings up a time when she was depressed. It was back in 1998 when “Beloved”, the film adaptation of Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, tanked at the box office in favor of “Bride Of Chucky.”
According to Oprah, it spiraled her into a mac and cheese eating/feeling suppressing depression.
“I shall never forget Saturday morning, October 17,” says Oprah—the day after Beloved opened. “I got a call from someone at the studio, and they said, ‘It’s over. You got beat by Chucky.’ And I said, ‘Who’s Chucky? What do you mean it’s over? It’s just Saturday morning!’ I knew nothing about box-office projections or weekend openings. It was ten o’clock in the morning, and I said to Art, “I would like macaroni and cheese for breakfast.”
She starts to laugh. “And soooo began my long plunge into food and depression and suppressing all my feelings.”
Luckily her sad moment didn’t last long and after six weeks of practicing gratitude, it was over.
“I actually started to think, Maybe I really am depressed. Because it’s more than ‘I feel bad about this.’ I felt like I was behind a veil.
I felt like what many people had described over the years on my show, and I could never imagine it. What’s depression? Why don’t you just pick yourself up?” Her depression lasted all of six weeks.
She stopped running around to movie theaters where Beloved was showing to buy blocks of tickets to try to get the box office up (true story) and pulled herself together.
“That’s when the gratitude practice became really strong for me,” she says, “because it’s hard to remain sad if you’re focused on what you have instead of what you don’t have.”
Photograph by Annie Leibovitz
Oprah had a lot more to say in her feature including that she was completely wrong with her initial feelings about WGN’s “Underground” and the film “12 Years A Slave”…
“When someone first mentioned that to me, I go, ‘Nobody’s going to watch a TV show about slavery.’ ” She rolls her eyes. “12 Years a Slave? When that became a hit, I went, Wow. OK. The culture has shifted.”
and she even spoke on her long term but extremely private relationship with Stedman. She’s still adamant that she and Stedman never wanted to get married.
“The sun is beginning to set over the Pacific, and our interview is winding down. I ask Oprah, What has not getting married taught you about women in our society? “Live life on your own terms,” she shoots right back. Then she reiterates something she said to me nineteen years ago: that the subject of marriage between her and Stedman Graham never came up.
“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.”
VOGUE’s September 125th Anniversary Collector’s Edition issue is out on national newsstands 8/22. It’s available to order on Amazon here.