Feud? What feud? On Monday night, Oprah Winfrey joined David Letterman for a fairly serious conversation at the late night host’s alma mater, Ball State University — and from the resulting clips, it’s pretty impossible to tell that there was ever any bad blood between these two.
As Letterman explained in 2010, he and Oprah first butted heads long before his infamous “Oprah, Uma. Uma, Oprah” joke at the 1995 Academy Awards. Apparently, Letterman pulled a prank on Winfrey when he spotted her at a restaurant, pinning his bill on the media mogul — and sparking a mutual antipathy that lasted until 2005. Now, though, the two appear to be the best of friends. While interviewing Winfrey for his Ball State lecture series, Letterman had nothing but praise for his Hollywood peer: “I feel personally touched and lucky to spend this kind of time with this woman,” he said at one point, calling her experiences “stunning.”
Winfrey returned the favor, freely opening up about her hardscrabble pre-talk-show life — including the beatings, rape, and sexual abuse she endured as a child and a young woman. Winfrey’s grandmother was particularly cruel: “She whipped me so badly that I had welts on my back and the welts would bleed. And then when I put on my Sunday dress, I was bleeding from the welts. And then she was very upset with me because I got blood on the dress. So then I got another whipping for getting blood on the dress,” Winfrey recalled, according to Ball State’s student paper.
Oprah later explained that she got through her tribulations by keeping faith in a “power greater than [her]self” — wait, there’s a power greater than Oprah? — drawing applause from the event’s rapturous audience of 3,300.
Though the entire 90-minute chat isn’t online, you can catch a few highlights from it via Ball State’s website and these local newscasts. Think this means Oprah’s next Next Chapter might feature an equally illuminating Letterman interview?
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