The O Interview: Gayle and Oprah, Uncensored
Oprah: Maybe I haven't said it to you very often, but I say it to other people all the time. Gayle is the best mother I have ever seen, heard, or read about. She was always 100 percent there for those kids—to this day. We'd be on the phone, in the middle of a conversation, and the kids would enter the room. This just happened last week, and her son's 19. She goes, "Hi, Willser. You got your Willser face on. Mommy loves you. Good morning, Bear. Hi, Kirby-Cakes." She stopped the conversation to greet them and let them know that they were seen and heard. And then she came back to the phone and carried on the conversation.
These kids have grown up with such love and support from Gayle, and also from Gayle's ex-husband. I love the way she understood that though the marriage was not going to work, her husband still needed to have a space to maintain a strong relationship with these kids. That takes a real woman. It's always, always, always been about what's best for her children.
Gayle: Years ago when Oprah was thinking of leaving the show, she said, "You should move to Chicago, and we'll incorporate you into the show. And then at the end of the year, I'll pass the baton on to you—but you'd have to move to Chicago." And I said, "I can't do that because Billy wouldn't be able to see the kids on a regular basis."
Oprah: I said, "Do you realize what I'm offering?"
Gayle: And I go, "Yeah, I do." But the kids were young, and I just said, "No, I can't do that."
Oprah: That's why she's the best, and her kids are the best. Her kids are my godchildren. There are shots of me riding around on all fours with Kirby—you know, playing horsey and stuff. I remember when William first came to the farm: He was running around saying, "Auntie O, you have a pool and a wacuzzi? Can you afford all this?"
When he was little, little, little, I had all these antique Shaker boxes. He was stacking 'em like—
Oprah: And knocking 'em over. I went, "William! Put those boxes down!" These kids weren't used to anybody raising their voice—they were never spanked or yelled at. So he was like, wacuzzi or no wacuzzi, I'm outta here. And he told his mommy, "I want to go home."
These kids made a lot of noise, and there were all kinds of bright yellow plastic things that made noise. And the TV was on and the same video was playing over and over and over. But Gayle helped me adjust.
Gayle: I'm always kind of taken aback, Lisa, when Oprah talks about me and the kids, because I see a lot of mothers who feel about their children the way I feel about mine.
Oprah: But they don't always have kids who turn out the way yours have. Everybody wants to raise good people, not just smart people at Ivy League schools and all that but good people. You have to be a good person to raise good people.
Lisa: Do you two talk every single day?
Gayle: We usually talk three or four times a day.