Oprah Winfrey is high up on the list of any journalist’s dream interview subjects. But Caroline Overington went one better. She met Oprah, sat down with her, did the interview and in the course of it, gave Oprah some advice that changed her life.
I found out about this last year when Caroline, my friend, texted me:
“Did you know Oprah named her baby? This is huge. Such an important step.”
“Wait, what baby?!?!?!” Oprah had a baby? She adopted a baby? How did I miss this vital piece of news?
A reply from Caroline:
“The baby she lost when she was a teenager.”
Ohhhhhh. I knew Oprah had been pregnant as a teenager. Vaguely. I knew she didn’t have a child now. Had she adopted it out? No. She’d been raped as a teenager, fallen pregnant at 14 and given birth to a son prematurely. He died in hospital within a couple of weeks and the whole traumatic experience had become her shameful secret until she spoke about it a few years ago.
Naming him was something even more recent.
Hear Caroline talk to Mia about the time that she met Oprah. Post continues after audio…
At the first live event of her Australian speaking tour in December 2015 , Oprah told the audience of 15,000 people, “I did an interview with a reporter before I came to Australia and she said you should name the baby son who died.”
“So I have named him, I had a little boy named Canaan. I did have a son. And I named him Canaan because Canaan means new land, new life.”
That reporter was Caroline, who had interviewed Oprah for the Australian Women’s Weekly just a couple of months earlier and gave her that piece of life-changing advice.