Memorable Guests Follow-Ups
But recently it has found new life on the Internet.
Have you received the following e-mail forward?
Subject: Tommy Hilfiger on Oprah
Text: "I'm sure many of you watched the recent taping of The Oprah Winfrey Show where her guest was Tommy Hilfiger. On the show, Oprah asked him if he had said, 'If I had known African-Americans, Hispanics, Jews and Asians would buy my clothes, I would not have made them so nice. I wish these people would not buy my clothes, as they are made for upper-class white people.' His answer to Oprah was a simple 'Yes' when she asked him, and she then immediately asked him to leave her show."
Tommy: Unfortunately, not.
Oprah: And when you first heard it, Tommy, what did you think?
Tommy: I didn't believe it. … Friends of mine said they heard the rumor. I said, 'That's crazy. That can't be. I was never on The Oprah Show. I would never say that.' And all my friends and family who know me and people who work with me and people who have grown up with me said that's crazy.
Oprah: Well, did you ever say anything close to that? Where do you think this originated?
Tommy: I have no idea. We hired FBI agents, I did an investigation, I paid investigators lots of money to go out and investigate, and they traced it back to a college campus but couldn't put their finger on it.
"It hurt my integrity, because at the end of the day, that's all you have. And if people are going to challenge my honesty and my integrity and what I am as a person, it hurts more than anything else," he says. "Forget the money that it has cost me."
Not only is he a fashion icon, Tommy is also the founder of a summer camp for inner city children and one of the driving forces behind the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Fund—a group dedicated to creating a monument to the slain civil rights leader in Washington, D.C. They're holding a fundraising concert on September 18, 2007, in New York City.
"The next time somebody sends you an e-mail or somebody mentions this rumor to you, you know what you're supposed say to them?" Oprah says. "You're supposed to say, 'That's a big fat lie.'"
The school's principal packed up the "Oprah chair" and shipped it to Chicago. Then Mrs. Adeniyi watched via satellite as Oprah finally took her reserved seat.
Oprah returned the favor, reserving front row seats to a taping of The Oprah Show for Mrs. Adeniyi and Ashtian…and they've come all the way from Texas to claim them!
Rudy was born in 1988 with rare multiple birth defects. His legs had not formed properly, making it impossible for him to walk. He underwent 15 operations before he turned 5 years old. Doctors said Rudy's best option was to amputate both legs from above the knee so he could be fitted with artificial limbs. By the time he got these new high-tech legs, Rudy was an athletic powerhouse. "I swim, I run, I bike and I play football. I ride my skateboard. And I'm just unstoppable," he said.
In 1999, Robin Williams—who was Rudy's partner in a charity triathlon—introduced this little guy with a big heart to Oprah and the world. "It feels that I'm, like, helping people," he told Oprah. "And inside it feels like I'm doing something good in my life."
Rudy says his personal motto is "A brave heart is a powerful weapon."
Like Rudy, Jake was born with rare birth defects that necessitated the amputation of his legs. The family met with multiple doctors. Instead of offering hope, they focused on what Jake would not be able to do in his life. Fortunately, Julie and Steve saw Rudy on The Oprah Show. "It was just like someone unlocked the door. We knew that Jake's future was wide open," Julie says.
They played a tape of Rudy's 1999 Oprah Show appearance for a prosthetist. "I said, 'I want this for Jake.' And he said, 'That's no problem.'" Julie says. "He said, 'I know that kid, I know Rudy. His prosthetist is my brother.'"
Jake is now 8 and says he'd like to compete in the Paralympics, too, and he has a special message for Rudy—"Thank you for being a mentor."
Oprah first met Stacey in 1987. At that time, Stacey weighed 550 pounds. She revealed that she had never been on a date and couldn't tie her own shoes. "I want to get thin…more than anything in the world," she said.
Seven years later, Oprah followed up with Stacey, who was still struggling to lose weight. To help others understand her pain, she gave cameras a glimpse into her daily life. Cameras rolled as children snickered and strangers insulted her as she walked down the street.
Fearing for her health, Stacey decided to undergo gastric bypass surgery. In 2003, she shared her dramatic results with Oprah Show viewers. "I'm a svelte 277," she said. "I've lost 218 pounds to date. I went from immobile to mobile in the course of a year."
During that appearance, Stacey told Oprah that she'd come to Chicago as soon as she could fit into a standard-sized airplane seat. After losing another 80 pounds, she made good on her promise! "It was quite a moment," Oprah says.
Stacey says she consulted physicians and nutritionists while writing the book, but she learned the most from former yo-yo dieters who've managed to stay slim for years. She calls this group "the winner's circle."
Stacey had put on 20 pounds after a knee surgery, but instead of allowing her weight to spiral out of control, she says she had a "normal moment."
"Overweight people never feel normal, and I never did," she says. "I gained 20 pounds, and normally that's my ticket back. When people gain weight they're, like, 'Oh, I blew it anyway.' And the most unbelievably normal thing happened. I turned to my mother one day, and I said, 'Ma, I put on some weight so I think I need to cut back on my food and move more.'"
In that moment, Stacey says she knew she'd never be 500 pounds again. "Normal people gain 10 and 20 pounds," she says. "It doesn't mean they have to keep going."
Stacey says people in "the winner's circle" share a weight loss secret that helps them keep the weight off. "If you wake up in the morning and you've been to a buffet breakfast or in my case, have a row of Oreos in the afternoon, I don't starve because I know by noon, I'm going to tilt back the fridge," she says. "What the winners do is they go to the exact next meal, and they start like it never happened."
"I'm working on dating because I have a problem with my naked body," she says. "I feel sexy with clothes on. I still have an intimacy issue. And guess what? This weight issue's never over."
Many assume that as overweight people lose the pounds, the pain also disappears, but Stacey says this is a big misconception. "People are in for a rude awakening, and that's what I talk about [in my book]," she says. "[I say,] 'Okay, you made it there. How do you adjust to this new life?'"
The support of strangers has helped Stacey overcome obstacles and create a new life for herself, she says. "I go out on the street, I'm lucky enough that people come up to me every day. What they don't know is they're helping me. They think I'm helping them," she tells Oprah. "You have given me a cheering squad out in the world wherever I go, and it's such a beautiful thing."
Nothing could have prepared Christine for the tragic events that unfolded on the morning of March 26, 2002. As she returned from her daily morning walk, she saw her ex-husband's vehicle parked in the driveway. Upon entering the home, Christine was horrified to find Melanie lifeless on the floor. An hour earlier, her ex-husband, John Hogan, had killed all four of her children before turning the gun on himself.
"I would have given anything just to go with my kids. Then I wouldn't have to feel all of this. My whole life—it's gone," Christine told Oprah when she appeared on The Oprah Show two years after the murders.
Still wrought with grief over the loss of her children, Christine told Oprah that she had set aside a date when she would decide whether she could continue living with her pain. "By setting a date, I both gave myself permission that if the pain just didn't change, that, that would be okay…I could go then," she said.
On the same show, Christine met Shelly Porter, a mother who had been through her own hell eight years earlier. Shelly's husband had also murdered her children, and she urged Christine to stay strong and let her children live on through her.
Hours after the show aired, Oprah says thousands of viewers wrote in to express how Christine touched their lives. Of the thousands, 16 people said that they had planned to commit suicide that day, but after seeing Christine's story, they chose to continue living.
To honor her four children, Christine started the MSSM (for Melanie, Stanley, Stuart and Michelle) Friendship Scholarship Foundation, which has already awarded 19 undergraduate scholarships. This scholarship isn't awarded to straight-A students. All teens need to do to qualify is be a good friend.
Students interested in applying must get a letter of recommendation from someone their own age who can attest to their friendship skills.
"When I came upon the idea for the friendship scholarship, [I] was trying to draw on something that all children could have in common, not any one thing that one of my four children might have done best," she says. "I wanted to honor all of them, and they had an incredible number of friends."
"It's living again," she says. "To just be by myself wasn't enough. It is children to live with, go forward with…[that's] a future."
Being a mother again has brought Christine both joy and pain. She says that when she reads her twins a book that was a favorite of one of her other children, she still gets very emotional. "But those were such good moments with my other children that it's good with them, too," she says.
Gerald describes his wife as a wonderful, generous woman who has wounds that will never completely heal. "I think we lead a normal life," he says. "The other children will always be there, but we're moving ahead with the new ones, too."
When Oprah was in Christine's home, she says she noticed that the refrigerator was still covered with photos of Melanie, Stuart, Stanley and Michelle. Christine says she'll soon make room for pictures of Nicole and Claire, too.
"I want these girls to have their own life," she says. "They don't need to live under a cloud or feel that those other children were perfect and something they can't live up to. I want them to be themselves."
In 1997, Andrew appeared on the show after beating out 65,000 other kids to become the new Oscar Mayer singing sensation.
The little kid with a big voice performed a soulful rendition of the Oscar Mayer Wiener song, which Oprah remembers to this day.
Now, 10 years later, he's back to belt out the 2007 remix! Fourteen-year-old Andrew may have grown a few feet, but he's still a singer, as well as an actor and dancer.
Watch Andrew's unforgettable Oscar Mayer Wiener performances.
"Amen!" Oprah says. "We're singing about a wiener!"