Oprah Talks to Camille Cosby
Oprah: This was during the time of the Autumn Jackson extortion case. That was two days after Ennis's death, right?
Camille: No, the extortion case began before Ennis was murdered. There were four people involved in that scheme, and the FBI was called in.... These people continued to extort on the day Ennis was murdered, even the day after. And all of them were arrested afterward.
Oprah: I thought the extortion happened afterward.
Camille: No, they were trying to extort before. Then Bill had his lawyer call the FBI, and they took over. So then we had that to deal with. But somehow we got through that. We just fought together.
Oprah: When reports of the alleged affair spread, did you feel as if someone had hit you with a hammer, or were you aware of the news?
Camille: I was aware of it—absolutely. But my priority, really, was finding Ennis's murderer, who wasn't caught for two months. So the extortion thing—if that had happened at a different time, I would have been immersed in that. I had lost my son, and nothing else was important to me.
Oprah: So what effect, if any, did the Autumn Jackson ordeal have on your family, on your relationship with Bill? Did he come to you and tell you about it?
Camille: Oh, years ago.... Back in the seventies, I knew about that.
Oprah: So when Bill did the interview with Dan Rather and said there was a possibility that Autumn was his daughter—but that he didn't believe it—did it matter to you if Autumn was his daughter? And did you want Bill to take a DNA test?
Camille: Yes. I told him to take the test so that he could be certain. I also thought that if he didn't take the test, Autumn Jackson and her cohorts could continue with their story.
Oprah: Were you surprised when Autumn didn't take the DNA test?
Camille: I wasn't surprised at all. Because anyone who is sincere about something like that—about finding out if a man is her father—wouldn't try to extort, have a ring of people working with her and then ask for $40 million. Something is wrong over there. I don't think it takes too much sense to understand that.
Oprah: Were you embarrassed about this talk of an affair, Camille?
Camille: It was embarrassing in terms of it being an invasion of our private lives. That was something very personal, between the two of us.
Oprah: But you already knew about it?
Camille: I already knew, but it wasn't for the whole world to know. Autumn Jackson obviously felt she had this to hold over Bill, that he would be embarrassed about it, that he might not have told me, that he might not have brought it to the family. But I think her focus was to threaten to expose it to the media. That was her way to extort.