Oprah Winfrey has had an amazing career. After 25 years on the Oprah Winfrey Show, she wanted some time out of the spotlight. Maybe that was the reason why she decided to move from the Hollywood area, and instead settled in Montecito, California about 90 minutes north of Los Angeles.
Her $100 million mansion, also called the “Promised Land” is something else. And now, thanks to new pictures, Oprah Winfrey gives us a small tour of her wonderful estate.
Through The Oprah Winfrey Show, the beloved talkshow host undertook thousands of emotional interviews with everyone from average Joes to presidents and Hollywood stars.
Now, she has settled in the small town of Montecito near Santa Barbara, California, where she lives in a big mansion alongside her partner Stedman Graham.
Oprah Winfrey was born on January 29, 1943 in the rural town of Kosciusko, Mississippi. Her early years in the small farming community were unstable: she was raised by her grandmother, but eventually left to live with her mother.
Oprah’s life with her mother was troubled and at times terrible. By 14 she was pregnant, and she ended up moving to live with her father in Nashville.
Tragically, Oprah gave birth to a premature son who died shortly after birth.
Plenty of people would be devastated by the trauma and ready to give up on life following such an event. However, Oprah decided to channel her pain into something positive.
Speaking to Readers Digest, the talk show host said that in some way they made her the woman that she is today.
“Being 14 was a very difficult time for me, it was rough. And had I had guidance at that age, my life might have been very different,” she said.
The decision to move to Nashville to be with her father and stepmother would turn into the best decision she ever made. By 17, she had turned into a young woman with confidence and went on to win the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant.
The event was sponsored by a local radio station, and since she showed talent in the field, Oprah was hired. She started working part-time reading the news, which later led her to another gig.
She attended Tennessee State University on a full scholarship and majored in communications. However, when a job came up, she left before graduating. In 1986, Oprah returned to school to turn in her final paper and officially graduate.
First job in TV
Oprah Winfrey packed her bags and moved to Baltimore, Maryland, where she began co-anchoring the six o’clock news at WJZ-TV.
One might think that her career was straight to the top from there. But no, Oprah also had to deal with some turbulence in her career.
Incredibly, this now-media powerhouse was dropped from the co-anchor position and demoted to the news desk instead. There, she would meet someone who would become a vital figure to her future success.
Her mentor was an editor at work, yelling at her every night she was on the job.
“I used to go to work every day shaking with fear, saying ‘I know I’m going to be fired’,” Oprah said.
“I wasn’t a great writer, I wasn’t fast enough. In the end I didn’t get fired, but I did get demoted to the talk show … which was seen as a big demotion in those days. And that’s where it all began. So, I thank him. He was inadvertently a guiding light!”
The Oprah Winfrey Show
Oprah Winfrey got the opportunity to host the TV show People Are Talking, through which she gained a lot of friends. It was a huge hit, and meant that Oprah had taken her first steps towards stardom. Her empathy and courage – which became her trademark – were key. She stayed on the show for eight years.
She was then recruited to Chicago to do a morning talk show called AM Chicago. However, in 1986 the show was rebranded as The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Oprah went into a television industry that was flooded by white males. As a young Black woman, she was a pioneer in the field, and her presence soon turned into what could be referred to as a revolution.
When she accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award – a Lifetime Achievement and prestigious award for outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment – at the Golden Globes in 2018, Oprah Winfrey talked on the concept of a talk show being more than just a talk show.
Rather, she sees it as a way of reaching personal healing.
“It’s to say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, and how we overcome,” Oprah said in her acceptance speech.
“I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who’ve withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at them, but the one quality all of them seem to share is an ability to maintain hope for a brighter morning, even during our darkest nights.”
Oprah Winfrey – Michael Jackson
The Oprah Winfrey Show became a stalwart of TV, attracting millions of viewers. Oprah interviewed more than 37,000 people on her talk show during the 25 years it aired. From average Joes with everyday problems to Michael Jackson and former President Obama.
The Michael Jackson interview became one of the most-watched interviews in television history with more than 90 million people watching.
“It was the most exciting interview I had ever done,” Oprah said. “We are coming in the gates of Neverland, and it’s like a moment in The Wizard of Oz. It was literally like going to see the wizard. We couldn’t believe it. I felt like a kid.”
The show’s end in 2011
Oprah had signed a contract to continue The Oprah Winfrey Show through the 2010-2011 season. At the time, the show could be seen on more than 200 US stations and in more than 100 countries worldwide.
In 2011, when her contract expired, Oprah Winfrey decided to end her show after 25 successful years.
“I love this show, this show has been my life, and I love it enough to know when it’s time to say goodbye,” she said. “Twenty-five years feels right in my bones and it feels right in my spirit. It’s the perfect number. It’s the exact right time.”
The show won a total of eight Daytime Emmy Awards and in addition, Oprah won the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011. Oprah also won the People’s Choice Award for “Favorite Talk Show Host” four times.
In 2013, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.
Millions of people have probably shed a tear or two over Oprah’s show at some point. No matter what place in life the guests are in, they all have one thing in common, according to Oprah herself.
“Everyone you meet just wants to be seen and heard,” she said.
Oprah Winfrey hasn’t only grown a big audience and fanbase in Hollywood because or her talk show. She’s also been in many movies. She made her debut in The Color Purple (1985), a role for which she received an Academy Award nomination.
Oprah has lent her voice to several animated movies, as well. In 2013, she had a big role in the multi award-winning movie The Butler. Two years later, in 2015, she was once again nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Motion Picture of the Year for Selma, in which she was the producer. According to IMDB, Oprah Winfrey became the first African American woman to be nominated for Best Picture.
Oprah is also known for being very generous on her show, giving the live audience all sorts of gifts. Not only that, but the beloved TV personality donates millions of dollars of her own money to fund various charities.
In April – in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic – Oprah announced that she was donating $10 million towards coronavirus relief efforts.
One million dollars went to a new initiative called America’s Food Fund, which helps to feed local communities. Oprah said the remaining $9 million was going to different cities across the United States.
Her partner, Stedman Graham
Oprah Winfrey has been together with partner Stedman Graham for more than 30 years. She met the business executive and author at a charity function in 1986, and shortly after, their relationship went public.
He even called in to The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1987 to surprise her, asking his girlfriend: “I don’t know if you recognize my voice or not?”
In 1992, Graham proposed to Oprah in her home in Indiana.
“I want you to marry me,” he told her, according to People. “I think it’s time.”
The couple were set to get married the following year. But in the end, they decided not to.
Oprah and Stedman have stayed together through all these years. Yet, according to the talk show host, they wouldn’t have been together if they got married.
“He’s never demanding anything from me like, ‘Where’s my breakfast? Where’s my dinner?’ Never any of that, which I believed would have changed had we married,” Oprah Winfrey said, according to Yahoo.
“No question about it — we would not stay married, because of what that would have meant to him, and I would have had my own ideas about it. I have not had one regret about that.”
Oprah Winfrey doesn’t have children. After getting engaged to Stedman, however, she admits she thought about it.
“At one point in Chicago, I had bought an additional apartment because I was thinking, ‘Well, if we get married, I’m going to need room for children,’” Winfrey said.
Oprah Winfrey and children
But something made her change her mind. At the time, she was busy with The Oprah Winfrey Show, she explained that her time on the show helped her to see that motherhood requires serious responsibility and “sacrifice.”
Because of that, she holds mothers in the “highest regard.” Oprah doesn’t look back and wonder about what might have been.
“I realized, ‘Whoa, I’m talking to a lot of messed-up people, and they are messed up because they had mothers and fathers who were not aware of how serious that job is,’” she explained.
Oprah Winfrey’s home
Many tourists go past the celebrities houses in the Hollywood area, looking at the big mansions in Bel Air, Calabasas, or Hollywood Hills. Celebrities – everyone from famous actors to singers and other performers – usually have their property surrounded by big fences and trees so people won’t get to close.
Oprah Winfrey also has that, however, she left the Hollywood scene a long time ago.
Back in 2001, Winfrey was invited to a party hosted by Robert and Marlene Veloz at their home in Montecito near Santa Barbara, California. The 42-acre property was remarkable, and right away, Oprah Winfrey fell in love.
She decided to pursue the dream of owning it. And even though it wasn’t on the market, she paid the owners almost $52 million dollars to make it hers.
Today, the estate is said to be worth a staggering $100 million.
Montecito is full of huge mansions, and people like Ellen DeGeneres, Jeff Bridges, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus all have properties in the area. It features long stretches of a wonderful Pacific Ocean coastline. And the nearby city of Santa Barbara offers a wide range of restaurants and cute boutiques.
“The Promised Land”
However, Santa Barbara isn’t Los Angeles. The stress of living in a big city is probably one of the reasons why many celebrities, including Oprah, decide to live there. There aren’t as many paparazzi, and the locals don’t seem to care that a celebrity is standing behind them, ordering coffee like anyone else.
Oprah Winfrey has the pleasure of living in a great community, but at the same time, she gets the privacy she wants.
She has renamed her Montecito Estate “Promised Land.” But why?
One day, while walking the property with her fitness guru as well as friend, Bob Greene, he said that she needed a new name for it because of where she came from.
“He goes, ‘You need a better name. The fact that you are an African-American woman from Mississippi and you get to have this . . . it’s deep,’ ” Oprah recalled speaking to Vogue. “So I go, ‘Yeah! It’s like a dream.’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah! It’s a promise, it’s the Promised Land!’ So I feel that every day. I don’t know of a person who can honestly, deeply, profoundly speak to the word contentment.
Oprah’s “Promised Land” might be a biblical name. But it’s not the only one present at her home.
On her property, she made room for the 12 apostles. However at Oprah’s, they’re shown in the form of 12 giant mature oaks. She decided to symbolically name them “the Apostles,” according to Vogue.
Tribute to her grandmother
The path down to the trees is called “Hallelujah Lane,” and on her Instagram page, Oprah has shared photos of one of the amazing trees.
According to The Oprah Magazine, Winfrey’s tearoom faces a stunning view of Montecito, towards the Pacific Ocean. She has her own English garden – overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands in the distance – with acres of rose bushes.
Even though Oprah can afford experts to take care of her many rose bushes, she’d rather do it herself.
“I’m very hands-on”” she says. “I picked the gravel, I picked the grout between the stonework. I decided which way the roses would face. Love is in the details.”
Growing up, Oprah said she only had a hydrangea bush in front of her grandmother’s porch. And that’s why she’s planed thousands of white hydrangeas along Hallelujah Lane, to honor her grandmother.
On her wonderful estate, the long-time talk show host also has her own vegetable garden, which she harvests herself.
“I can get excited over little things,” Oprah said. “Just the bounty of it, the fact that this just came out of the ground.”
It isn’t everyday that you’ll be able to see the big estates of celebrities. However, only a couple of weeks ago, Oprah Winfrey shared some new videos on her Instagram page, giving her followers and fans a glimpse of her great lawn and garden.
“This garden makes me present”
In another video, Oprah is seen taking cuttings in the middle of a huge garden, filled with all different types of flowers in different colors.
For someone that has been in show business for decades, as well in the spotlight in so many different projects, Oprah Winfrey has really found herself a home where she can be herself, doing the things the love.
And her garden has really proved to be exactly one of those things.
“I’ve done many interviews with people who had to lose what they had in order to value what they still have,” she told Veranda. “Sometimes I stand under the arbor, close my eyes, and allow myself to take in as much as I can: I hear birds splashing in the fountain and literally smell the roses. This garden makes me present.”
Oprah Winfrey is a role model for millions of people and a wonderful TV host. We hope she really enjoys strolling in her wonderful garden – and we wish her all the best in the future. Hopefully, we’ll see her in movies or as a talk show host soon again.
Please, share this story with friends and family to honor this incredible woman!