Oprah Winfrey Calvin Mitchell Drama Explained: Mogul Opens Up About ‘Secret Son’
Oprah Winfrey and her father, Vernon Winfrey, are both talking about Calvin Mitchell, the man, who has been dubbed the mogul’s “secret son” and who ambushed her while she was leaving the Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City. Oprah said she abandoned Mitchell after he dropped out of school while Vernon claims he has no interest in meeting the Chicagoan.
Oprah and Vernon Winfrey have both made it clear that they want nothing to do with Calvin Mitchell, a 35-year-old truck driver, who claimed he is the billionaire’s “lost son.”
On October 15, as Oprah Winfrey was leaving the Ed Sullivan Theater after an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, she was ambushed by a man who apparently had a lot to tell her. The man carrying a photo of the media mogul was later identified as Calvin Mitchell, a 35-year-old from Chicago, Illinois, who met the talk show host in the early 90s.
Days after the bizarre incident, Mitchell did a lengthy interview in The National Enquirer where he revealed that he was almost adopted by Winfrey and her partner, Stedman Graham. According to Mitchell, he met Winfrey at the age of 11 while working on the 1992 set of ABC’s movie-of-the-week, There Are No Children Here.
The 61-year-old businesswoman felt a connection with the child and along with Graham they met with his parents and offered to pay for a private school for him. However, when he dropped out of the school, Winfrey decided to pay for another private boarding school in Mississippi, but when he was expelled, she decided to cut ties with him.
Mitchell said that he became suicidal and depressed after being abandoned by the actress. He explained that he was unhappy being away from his parents and the teachers in Mississippi did not like him. The man lamented:
“I was young. I made a dumb decision, and Oprah wouldn’t forgive me. I feel like what she did was wrong, I became suicidal after she abandoned me. 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. I just wanted to come home, and Oprah didn’t understand that.”
Mitchell admitted that he let his family down by failing to get an education, but he had hoped that his “adopted mother” would still care for him despite his foolish choices. He confessed:
“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.”
Mitchell also stated that he apologized to Oprah earlier this month, but it appears that she is angry after discovering that a tabloid helped him gain access to her. Oprah Winfrey sat down with Entertainment Tonight‘s Nancy O’Dell, and she confirmed Mitchell’s story – time and place they met.
Winfrey also admitted that she stopped contacting Mitchell and his family after he turned his back on his education. She said:
“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 also revealed that she split with Mitchell when he decided at the age of 16 he no longer wanted to go to school. Oprah added:
“…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.”
Oprah shared that she did not immediately recognize Calvin when he approached her after a taping of The Late Show With Stephen Colbert earlier this month, and she did take his phone number to talk to him, but she found out it was all set up by a tabloid, so she changed her mind. Oprah Winfrey concluded by saying:
“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.”
Mitchell received another blow after Oprah’s dad, Vernon Winfrey, said he never heard about him and does not want to meet him.