Oprah Winfrey is baring all on the story behind her recent run-in with her “secret son.”
Winfrey was ambushed by 35-year-old Calvin Mitchell on her way out of an interview in New York City earlier this month.
Mitchell claims he first met the OWN mogul on the set of the movie ‘There Are No Children Here’ in which she starred but now feels abandoned by her after he rejected her attempts to give him an education that would have rescued him from the poverty he had fallen prey to.
He now claims he teamed up with the National Enquirer to catch her outside the interview to apologise but this move has only served to crush any chances he may have had of rebuilding his friendship with Winfrey.
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.
Oprah and her partner Stedman Graham placed him in a prestigious school and bought him clocks when he claimed he had stopped attending classes because he didn’t have an alarm clock to wake him in the morning.
He was eventually expelled.
I had a long conversation with him about how disappointed I was but I was going to give him another chance.
She did, placing him in the Piney Woods private school.
I found a school in Mississippi that was a private boarding school because I thought if I could remove him from the environment that he’d been accustomed to growing up in, that maybe that would be helpful to him.
After telling her that the teachers didn’t like him Mitchell told her that he intended to drop out and return to what he knew much to her dismay.
I said, ‘Calvin, this is the moment. This is a seminal moment for you. I know you are 16 and can’t see the road ahead, but if you leave this school and refuse to get an education – 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.
Alas, Winfrey revealed that she would have helped him again had he reached out without the “help” of The National Enquirer.
I could see the little boy in his eyes, even though time has changed a lot for him, and I said to him, ‘What are you doing? Why did you go to the tabloids?
She now says the experience inspired her to build the Leadership Academy for Girls in 2007.
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’s decision to reach out to her this year may have something to do with the success she is now enjoying as a Weight Watcher’s spokeswoman and investor. For, after investing in the company she picked up $45 million for her troubles…in a day.