A young man who media mogul, Oprah Winfrey, met in the early 90s and was subsequently a beneficiary of her generosity has been parading himself to the press as her ‘secret son’ after she ‘abandoned’ him when he dropped out of school.
DailyMail UK reports;
The 61-year-old media mogul was photographed as she attempted to deal with the man, Calvin Mitchell, during an awkward encounter outside the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York on October 15. The National Enquirer had arranged for Mitchell to run into Oprah after he told the tabloid he wanted to reconnect with the talk show host after becoming estranged from her for 20 years.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight’s Nancy O’Dell, Oprah revealed that although she didn’t immediately recognize Mitchell, she did try to make contact with him after their run-in. She confirmed that Mitchell is not her birth son, but she admitted she was ‘so charmed’ by him when they met in the early 1990s, she did everything she could to help his family.
Oprah said that she has not spoken to Mitchell since he quit the private boarding she had enrolled him in more than 20 years ago but was keen to reconnect after seeing him again this month. But now, after realizing he had sold his story to the tabloids and their encounter was a set-up, she wants nothing to do with him.
Oprah told ET: ‘I met Calvin around the early ’90s, I think it was 1992. I was doing a film for television called There Are No Children Here. We were shooting in the projects in Chicago and I was sitting on set during a break, and this cute little sparkly-eyed boy came underneath the yellow tape to hand me a soda. I was so charmed by him that I started talking to him about his family, his school life, and found out that he was in a situation where his mother didn’t have a job and they were stuck in the projects.’
She explained that she took it upon herself to help the family move out of the projects, find employment for Mitchell’s mother, and enroll him in a local private school but when the principal called to inform her that Calvin hadn’t been attending class, Oprah and her partner, Stedman Graham, paid the family a visit. They told her that they weren’t able to wake up on time to get Calvin to school.
Oprah said: ‘We realized they don’t have any clocks in the house. We went out, Stedman and I, went to K-Mart that moment, got a bag full of clocks, came back to the house, taught them how to set the alarm and all that.’
She said Calvin was eventually expelled from the school. She added: ‘I had a long conversation with him about how disappointed I was but I was going to give him another chance.’ She then paid for Mitchell to attend the private Christian boarding school, The Piney Woods School, in Mississippi, until he dropped out at age 17.
She continued: ‘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.’
Oprah said that, at the age of 16, Calvin said that he couldn’t stay at the boarding school because ‘the teachers didn’t like him’.
Oprah said she told him, ‘Calvin, this is the moment. This is a seminal moment for you. I know you are 16 and can’t see the road ahead, but if you leave this school and refuse to get an education – I have tried to offer you an education twice – there isn’t another school I can put you in. If you leave this school, I am done. There is nothing else I can do. And that was my last conversation with Calvin in the early ’90s.’
And when she ran into Mitchell earlier this month, Oprah already suspected that he told his story to the tabloids because she was asked by a media outlet for comment about her ‘secret son’.
She said: ‘I could see the little boy in his eyes, even though time has changed a lot for him, and I said to him, ‘What are you doing? Why did you go to the tabloids? As I left, and he was looking so forlorn, he was like, ‘Can I speak to you?’ So I said to somebody on my team, ‘Will somebody get Calvin’s number so I can contact him later?’ I didn’t realize the whole thing was a setup. When I realized the whole thing was a setup, I was no longer interested in speaking to him.’
She added that she’s not hurt, but is ‘disappointed’.
Oprah also revealed that it was her experience with Mitchell that inspired her to open her Leadership Academy for Girls in 2007.
‘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. 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.’
On Monday, Mitchell told Radar that Oprah once asked his mother to adopt him at the age of 11 after he and the billionaire mogul met on the 1992 set of ABC’s movie-of-the-week, There Are No Children Here.
Mitchell said that he became suicidal and depressed after their relationship ended years ago. He reportedly pleaded with Oprah for forgiveness after she asked him why he had spoken to a tabloid.
Mitchell said he charmed Oprah when they first met by offering her a Diet Coke, and she offered him a job as her ‘personal bodyguard’ before asking his mother Eva if she could adopt him.
‘It felt strange because I felt if someone wanted to help me with my children, that’s one thing,’ his 56-year-old mother told the site. ‘But to actually adopt one child knowing I have others? I couldn’t allow her to separate my children.’
Oprah – who boasts a $3 billion fortune – would allegedly send gifts to the boy with notes addressed: ‘To my son Calvin, I love you.’ He said the 20-time Emmy winner paid for him to attend the private Christian boarding school in Mississippi until he dropped out at age 17.
‘I was young. I made a dumb decision, and Oprah wouldn’t forgive me. I feel like what she did was wrong. She told me, “Calvin, just try to work it out. You can do it. Just hang in there.” She was trying to inspire me to do what was right. But even after the long pep talk she gave me, I still left.’ He added: ‘I just wanted to come home, and Oprah didn’t understand that.’
Mitchell also lost touch with Oprah’s partner of 29 years, Stedman Graham, who would treat him to Chicago Bulls games.
Mitchell, who also provided a photo of himself as a child with Oprah to the National Enquirer, admitted, ‘By leaving school, I’d failed my whole family. I’d let everybody down. But I thought Oprah and Stedman would still be a part of my life. At one point, it was like I’d lost my whole world.’
In the past, Oprah has reportedly said she never ‘felt compelled’ to have children ‘because I wasn’t mothered well’ by Vernita Lee, who was too busy working as a housemaid. She did have a son when she was just 14, but the young boy died soon after he was born.
Tags: Oprah Winfrey, Oprah's 'Secret Son'
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We don’t know what we have till we lose it that’s what I will say in this guy situation.
Now he has learn it in a hard way
Yeye boy. That’s why its hard to help these poor people. Oprah abeg don’t ever bring him close to you ever again.
What a missed oppoturnity
She has tried for him n his family.The boy’s mother is even annoying too-You can’t take care of your son n you won’t accept help from someone who can.Well they’ve all learnt the hard way
I would be dissapointed too. How can he just misuse a golden opportunity as this? He is so not a serious person Mtscheeeeeeewwww. Abeg she try jor.
Some being sometimes misuse privileges
Hmmm, if he had known….
I hope he has now learnt a lesson,dy mother case no get head self
he’s not serious
Hmmmm……….and the funny thing is he hasn’t changed nor learnt…..its a pity….
Oprah isn’t his God. Yes he missed a great opportunity but as Joy said his major problem is that he hasn’t changed or learnt nor has any plans to change or improve. Instead he feels life owes him when he should get off his butt and face reality.
He’d an opportunist and he’s unapreciative see where he is today
I don’t know if some people are destined to be the “tail” in life or it’s a generational curse? This mans behaviour is really upsetting.
What a missed opportunity
He made his bed so let him lie on it
Opportunity comes but once
he lost a very good opportunity
Mtchew he lost such a huge opportunity
A lizard will always be a lizard if you like feed it all the best things in the world.it never be a crocodile it will just be a fat lizard….see how he lost out of a great opportunity
There might not be any second chance in his situation.
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