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Oprah Winfrey and her half-sister Patricia are seen in an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show, which aired on Jan. 24, 2011. - Provided courtesy of Harpo Inc.

Oprah Winfrey reveals half-sister, Patricia

Get more: Oprah Winfrey
01/24/2011 by Corinne Heller

Oprah Winfrey finally revealed her much anticipated family secret - she discovered she had a long-lost half-sister she never knew she had.

Winfrey's mother, Vernita Lee, gave birth in 1963 to Patricia, whose last name was not revealed. She gave her up for adoption because she could not afford to raise her. Patricia grew up in foster homes and was eventually adopted. She lives in Milwaukee.

"All these years I've wondered who my birth mother was and she lives 10 minutes away from me, in the same city," Patricia says in a clip posted on Winfrey's website. "Amazing."

"I can't tell you how many times I've done a story like this on 'The Oprah Winfrey Show," Winfrey said on her program. "Needless to say, it's something you need to process when it happens. I'm telling you today because my family and I agreed that we wanted to do it on our terms and not have it become some tabloid spectable with all the facts getting confused."

Patricia had known the truth about her family for several years, Winfrey said.

"She had tried and tried and tried again, even wrote an email to our offices in 2007," the talk show host added. "Had gone to her pastor, who contacted my mother's pastor, who then sent a letter to my mother. She never thought once to sell the story. When I heard this about you, I said regardless if it's true or not true, I had to meet you, because I had to meet somebody who had that kind of character."

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