Oprah‘s fans and loved ones are sending their heartfelt condolences and prayers to the queen of all media as she recently lost her mother, Vernita Lee, on Thanksgiving day. She was 83.
According to TMZ, Oprah’s niece Alisha Hayes posted that Lee passed away on the holiday, with the family, soon after, confirming her death.
Oprah’s relationship with her mother, as fans of her legendary talk show may know, has been strained throughout the years.
Vernita Lee, born in 1935 in segregated Mississippi, met Vernon Winfrey, Oprah’s father, and gave birth to the television personality in 1954. She could not raise Oprah, herself, as she moved to Milwaukee to work as a housemaid. Due to this, Oprah lived with and was raised by her maternal grandmother for the beginning of her life and moved to Milwaukee to live with her mother when she turned six. However, their extensive estrangement only caused them to fail to connect.
Speaking on their rocky relationship, Oprah once said that their lengthy separation heavily affected their bond.
“I was asking the question… ‘What is a mother?’ ‘What are you supposed to feel about your mother?'” she once asked.
Also, while living with her mother, she was unfortunately molested by her cousin and abused by her uncle, two incidents she has since publicly shared.
After several other details were revealed regarding their strained relationship, which spanned years, Oprah and her mother eventually repaired things, with Vernita appearing on her talk show in 1990 where the mogul’s personal stylist gave her a makeover.
She is survived by her children Oprah and Patricia Amanda Faye Lee, grandchildren Alisha Kayes, Chrishaunda Lee Perez, Aquarius Lofton and Andre Brown, and great-grandchildren Jaxon Praise Perez, Chai Theresa Perez, Donovan Hayes and Trinity Hayes.
The site reports that a private funeral service was already held in her honor with memorial donations in her name being made to Feeding America.
Oprah recently posted a heartfelt message to social media addressing her mother’s death:
May she rest in peace.