People have always said that you should be careful of the company that you keep. The elders also have advised that when it comes to friendship, great friends should be valued as they are truly hard to come by. The word “friend” carries a heavy weight, but oftentimes gets thrown around loosely and given to folks that are undeserving. This is why Oprah Winfrey chooses to keep her circle of friends at a low number. Three to be exact.
When you think of Oprah Winfrey and her friendships, you would think that she is friends with just about anyone. The media mogul has long been chummy with many of her celebrity cohorts since her days as a talk show host. This, however, does not define true friendship. However, if you know about Oprah Winfrey, you know that she has always considered Gayle King to be her best friend forever. Two other very special people hold that space in Winfrey’s heart as well: Maria Shriver and Bob Greene.
Oprah’s friendship with Maria Shriver, a journalist and the former wife of actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, spans 42 years. Both Winfrey and Shriver appeared on the Making Space with Hoda Kotb podcast where they shared a touching recollection of their friendship over the years. The episode entitled “The Word Was Cherish” boasts the two powerful friends, with Oprah sharing how they first met. Forty-two years ago, they were both working at Baltimore’s WJZ-TV when they had a chance encounter in the station’s bathroom in the wee hours of the morning. From then on, the friendship blossomed from what she describes as a truly “spiritual connection.”
“She was in the bathroom, literally splashing water on her face, and we started a conversation,” Oprah Winfrey shared about her first time meeting Shriver. That “divine” moment, she says, was the start of her true “grounded friendships.” Winfrey then joyfully exclaimed that her friendship with Shriver carried her throughout her career.
Oprah then shares that her circle of friends is a tight one, listing Maria Shriver along with Bob and Gayle. She explains that her friendships with both Gayle and Maria began around the same time. Oprah also shares that her circle has since expanded a bit, but that has only started five years ago. For Oprah, she says that what carries her friendships are when they are “grounded” and based in truth. This, she says, is also what has maintained her friendship with Maria Shriver. With Shriver, there is a level of honesty that she admires. “Oh my God, Maria’s going to tell you the truth no matter, damn, what,” Oprah Winfrey said.
Bob Greene and Oprah Winfrey’s friendship was birthed from Oprah’s weight loss journey. Greene, a personal trainer, met Oprah around 1993 and helped her discover that her relationship with food stemmed from various emotional traumas, which accelerated her weight gain. “When I first met Bob and he asked me why I was overweight, I thought he was being a smart-a**,” Oprah recalled in the January 2007 issue of O Magazine. Their relationship would only grow stronger and he became more of an answer to her prayers. Since then, they’ve written books together centered on diet and exercise.
Of course, one of Oprah’s most talked about friendships is with Gayle King. Their friendship has been the subject of many’s “friend goals” on social media, and also the cause of many rumors that they are more than friends. Oprah and Gayle have done everything together, including consistent vacations.
The two met in their20s, and now in their 60s, Oprah and Gayle’s friendship has only grown stronger. In a video uploaded to Instagram, they shared that in order for their friendship (and any for that matter) to work you must be authentically happy for one another’s achievements. You also must support each other’s happiness, as you support your own happiness.