There are few talk shows that have left such a lasting impact as The Oprah Winfrey Show. Running for an outstanding 25 season and winning 47 Daytime Emmy Awards by the year 2000, Oprah’s show was a dependable daytime escape that would educate and entertain. We saw as Oprah played therapist to countless guests and celebrities, but what did the host/producer/mogul gain from the experience, besides her wild success?
Before the release of her HBO film The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Oprah Winfrey has been doing a fair amount of interviews and publicity. In a recent conversation with People, Oprah revealed how The Oprah Winfrey Show actually functioned as a form of therapy for the host, as well as the various guests. She said,
I had never gone to a therapist, ever. But I had so many therapists sitting in the chair across from me that I just sort of took it in. The Oprah Winfrey Show was my greatest therapy. . . . It was the greatest teaching. It was the greatest classroom and it was my greatest therapy. I came out of it a better human being having listened to everybody’s stories and like, ‘I don’t want to go down that road. I saw what happened to that lady. I heard what he said.’
As always, Oprah Winfrey is a class act. Because while she spoke to her many guests and shared their stories with her audience, she took something away from it too.
It has to make sense. Because while casual audiences best know The Oprah Winfrey Show for its crazy free car shenanigans and bizarre celebrity interviews, many of the stories focused on everyday stories. And its during these stories, many of which focused on overcoming adversity, where Oprah was able to go through her own form of therapy. Because if audience members were able to empathize and learn from her guests, imagine what the lady sitting across from them felt.
Of course, we can’t let Oprah off the hook when it comes to bizarre and fantastic celebrity interactions. Oprah has always had a way of opening her guests up, making the comfortable to share their true self to millions. Who can forget Tom Cruise‘s infamous couch jumping session while sharing his infatuation with then girlfriend Katie Holmes?
If getting through that interview isn’t akin to an intense therapy session, I don’t know what is. Seriously, why was Tom Cruise so physical with her?
And while it’s sad that The Oprah Winfrey Show ended in 2011, the media mogul has only continued to create dynamic projects since. Her latest is starring opposite Rose Byrne in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, premiering on HBO April 22, 2017.