Oprah Winfrey patiently explains why she’ll never marry her long-term partner

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Kayleigh Dray
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Oprah Winfrey has been in a long-term sponsored_longform with businessman Stedman Graham for decades – and the subject of marriage has never come up once.

Well, not between them, anyway. The couple decided a long time ago that marriage wasn’t for them, but because they’ve gone against the traditional narrative of the love story, everyone around them is apparently still desperate to know why they haven’t tied the knot.

Now, in a new interview with Vogue, Winfrey has made her feelings on marriage known – loud and clear.

Pointing out that her dreams have never involved a diamond ring or a big white wedding dress, Winfrey said: “Nobody believes it, but it's true. The only time I brought it up was when I said to Stedman, ‘What would have happened if we had actually gotten married?’ And the answer is, ‘We wouldn't be together.’

“We would not have stayed together, because marriage requires a different way of being in this world.”

While many would argue that being married doesn’t change a relationship, the Selma actor – who began dating Graham back in 1986 – explained that her partner has a very “traditional” view of a married household, which Winfrey says she would never “fit in” with.

“His interpretation of what it means to be a husband and what it would mean for me to be a wife would have been pretty traditional,” says Winfrey, “and I would not have been able to fit into that.”

It’s not the first time that Winfrey has spoken about the irritation of traditional expectations: earlier this year, she nailed the big problem with everyone asking why she and Steadman chose never to have children.

To kick off her argument in true Oprah style, the actor, author, TV star and activist reminded the world that, in 2007, she founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, a boarding school in South Africa which houses 172 girls.

And she went on to explain that the project makes her feel as if she has children of her own.

“It is more rewarding than I would ever have imagined. I was doing this to help them, but it has brought a light to my life that I can’t explain.

“When people were pressuring me to get married and have children, I knew I was not going to be a person that ever regretted not having them, because I feel like I am a mother to the world’s children.”

Winfrey, who lost a premature baby son, Canaan, when she was 14 years old, continued: “Love knows no boundaries. It doesn’t matter if a child came from your womb or if you found that person at age two, 10 or 20.

“If the love is real, the caring is pure and it comes from a good space, it works.”

She added: “For me it was perfect, because I didn’t want babies. I wouldn’t have been a good mom for babies. I don’t have the patience. I have the patience for puppies, but that’s a quick stage! But this is so rewarding.”

Images: Rex Features


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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.