Pop Culture

Oprah Winfrey Is Still Mad About Time She Was Fat-Shamed On TV By Joan Rivers

It caused a downward spiral.

Oprah Winfrey is opening up about her struggles with weight and healthy eating in her new book  The Queen of Media shares the embarrassing, yet pivotal moment when she was fat shamed on national TV by comedienne Joan Rivers.

"Joan’s introduction was great. I made it from curtain to couch without tripping and launched into my amusing little anecdote about winning the Miss Fire Prevention pageant. It was all going smoothly; I was starting to settle in," she writes on an excerpt on her site. "And then it happened: Joan interrupted with perhaps the only question I hadn’t prepared for: 'So how’d you gain the weight?'"

The late Joan Rivers was known for her in-your-face humor and total lack of filter. Oprah continues, "Wait a minute—did she just use my national television debut to ask me why I was so fat? The studio started spinning. The word fat...fat...faaaaatttttt reverberated in my brain. Joan sat behind Johnny’s big wooden desk, telling me that she didn’t want to hear my excuses and that I shouldn’t have let this happen. The audience laughed nervously as she wagged her flawlessly manicured finger at me, pointed out that I was still 'a single girl,' and challenged me to come back 15 pounds lighter next time she hosted. And the whole time I just sat there smiling breezily, wanting nothing more than to crawl under my chair." 

Oprah continues: "Wait a minute—did she just use my national television debut to ask me why I was so fat? The studio started spinning. The word fat...fat...faaaaatttttt reverberated in my brain. Joan sat behind Johnny’s big wooden desk, telling me that she didn’t want to hear my excuses and that I shouldn’t have let this happen. The audience laughed nervously as she wagged her flawlessly manicured finger at me, pointed out that I was still 'a single girl,' and challenged me to come back 15 pounds lighter next time she hosted. And the whole time I just sat there smiling breezily, wanting nothing more than to crawl under my chair."

This incident led Oprah on a long journey of fad diets and yo-yo results. She would lose weight but never keep it off. Eventually, she hit 237 deeply frustrating pounds and realized that she needed a healthier relationship with food.

Read more about Oprah's weight struggle here.

[Photo: Getty Images]

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