Q: Were you nervous before that first syndicated show?
No, not really. I had been up most of the night reflecting about the long journey to that moment. I wrote in my journal, "I wonder if my life will change.... I thank God for the opportunity." I was very much aware of the magnitude of the moment.
Q: Do you ever get nervous now?A:
Like most people, I get nervous only when I'm out of my element or I'm uncertain about the outcome of a situation. Speaking in front of people is like breathing to me. I've been nervous three times that I can recall on my show—for Sidney Poitier
, Diana Ross
and Nelson Mandela
, because they meant so much to me personally.
Q: How much homework do you do before each show?A:
If a guest is promoting a movie, I've seen the movie. If they're promoting a book, I most likely have read the book or enough of it to have a discussion. In some cases, I've been more familiar with a book than the person promoting it—that's very annoying. Q: Have you ever lost your temper on the air?
I've lost my temper a couple of times in discussions about the abuse of children. I don't regret what I said but the way I said it. It's never good to lose control on the air. Q: What did you and Tom Cruise talk about during the commercial breaks? Did he offer to have your sofa cleaned?
I try not to have any conversation during break. I learned the first year out that you want to save it for the air. But on that particular show, Tom was so jazzed
, chatting it up with the audience and me during commercial breaks. He'd just been to the Legends event
[the party Oprah threw in May 2005], so we talked about that. No, he did not offer to clean the sofa, and aren't I glad. Now we can auction it for the Angel Network and make a lot of money.