Oprah and Gayle
When the photographer begins clicking away, Oprah Winfrey and her best friend, Gayle King, will be impeccably cooperative. They'll pose, they'll percolate, they'll shine. They've been shot before.

But for just a moment on a gorgeous day in New York City, these two women who've spent 30 years in constant conversation, who've stuck together through fame and fortune, kids and dogs, marriage and divorce, miniskirts and shoulder pads, are happy to be quiet together.

"What?" Oprah asks as Gayle plucks at a wisp of her pal's hair. "I miss the curls," Gayle answers. This is not news. "Gayle doesn't like my hair, but that's okay 'cause I do," Oprah tells me.

"So, that's allowed?" I venture. "It's fine to criticize each other's looks?"

"Sure," Gayle says. "I tried growing out my bangs a few months ago, and Oprah hated it."

"Yeah, that was bad," Oprah says, "but then I thought, "Hey, I don't have to sleep with her." Now, if we were sleeping together, it'd be like [ in her best Barry White voice ], "Baby, I want the bangs...." And on that note, the interview begins.

Start reading Lisa Kogan's interview with Oprah and Gayle

Note: This interview appeared in the August 2006 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine.