Max and Dr. Stosny

After watching a show about emotionally abusive relationships , Max, a DJ on a Chicago radio station, realized that he'd been emotionally abusing his wife, Christine.

He contacted Oprah , who set him up with Dr. Steven Stosny, the founder of one of the country's most successful programs for emotionally abusive men.

In 30 hours of intense therapy over three days, Max had a "light bulb moment." He realized, "I'm trying to criticize my wife into being a better person and how ridiculous that is." He and Dr. Stosny investigated many issues in Max's past, including his interaction with his parents and interaction today with his own children.
Max, Christine and Dr. Stosny

After Dr. Stosny and Max worked for a time together, Christine joined the sessions. Dr. Stosny had Christine explain to Max how his actions made her feel. Very quickly, Max came to understand how he was hurting her, and she says she sees an instant change in Max.

"For one, he seems just more calm," she says. "Not as rigid. Not as stressful. Easy to approach. We've been talking a lot for the first time in a long time about stuff around the house, or just things we should be talking about."

Max says Dr. Stosny has helped him understand himself. Max now says, "The person doing the hurting is really the person who hurts. I didn't really associate my hurts with me constantly being critical, which was the number one problem in our marriage. That was a revelation, because when I first e-mailed the show I didn't know that that was our number one problem."
Twana Denard loves Usher

R&B star Usher surprised his biggest fan, Twana Denard , on the show to help kick off our Wildest Dreams season. On the show, he gave Twana and her friend, Athena, front-row tickets for his show in Chicago. But there were more surprises in store during the concert.

"His bodyguard came over to me and he lifted me up over the barricade," Twana says. "I was trembling. I was nervous. I was happy. I was just, like, 'Yes. Do whatever you want. I'm of age. Just go ahead.'"

After dancing together, Twana found herself on a couch onstage. Usher and she were very close together. "I was just telling him how much I love him," Twana says. "He was sweating and he tried to wipe the sweat off. And I said, 'Don't worry about it. Just let the sweat drip.'

"He fulfilled every fantasy I could possibly have about being up on that stage with him," Twana says. "It's just a dream come true."
Lisa and Mario

On Living a Secret Life , Lisa Jaume admitted to a gambling addiction that had left her family at a loss of $60,000. She says she was secretly slipping out to casinos while her husband, Mario, was at work.

After admitting her problem to him just days before the show, he was still too upset to appear with her. But now Lisa is back with Mario.

"I wanted to show support for her and to let people know that she's not that person that we saw in that tape," Mario says. "She's a great mother. A great wife. And I love her dearly."

Lisa says she has not been in a casino since admitting her addiction.
The 'Ladder 49' premiere

This fall, John Travolta and the stars of Ladder 49 surprised a few real-life heroes on the show.

When their comrade, Dino Mahaffey, was trapped in a blaze, firefighters Kenny Ward and Phil Bird rushed in to save him. To honor their valor, John invited Kenny and Phil to come to The Oprah Show as his guests. But, surprise! What Phil and Kenny didn't know was that Dino was here to award them with the Medal of Valor.

When Dino came out to honor his friends, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. "You know, you get emotional on television. You try not to go into the 'ugly cry.' But we had all gone into the 'ugly cry.' So, there we all are: John's nose is running; the firefighters' noses are running; I'm trying to cry up to save the mascara. It was a moving moment," says Oprah.

Then, to top it all off, John flew Kenny, Phil and Dino, and their wives, to Los Angeles for the premiere of Ladder 49 and the swanky parties that followed.
Cynthia has registered to vote

This fall, Oprah and some big stars were on a mission …to get people to register to vote! Cynthia, a woman in the audience who had never voted, was quite cynical about the voting process. Cynthia had said, "I would never fight for the right to vote." That is, until that underscored the importance of citizenship, especially to historically disenfranchised groups like African-Americans and women.

After appearing on the show and hearing the moving story, Cynthia says she felt embarrassed by her past inaction. Not only did she finally register to vote, she also spent time hitting the streets near Houston urging others to vote as well.

Now, on the day after the historic election of 2004 in which 15 million more people voted than did in the last election, Oprah invited several women who voted for the first time ever into her office to talk about this amazing day. And Cynthia's back! We accompanied her to the polls where she voted for the first time. Cynthia says voting was a great experience. "I was like, wow, it's a new day," she says. "My vote does count. It was a wonderful feeling. I didn't know that was what I was missing."