Oprah Winfrey recounts mortifying moment Joan Rivers fat-shamed her on ‘The Tonight Show’

Oprah Winfrey recounts mortifying moment Joan Rivers fat-shamed her on ‘The Tonight Show’
Oprah Winfrey recalled her humiliating conversation with TV host Joan Rivers (Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA: Oprah Winfrey, who recently revealed she felt too heavy to attend a holiday party during her weight loss journey recounted an incident where she was publicly body-shamed by the late Joan Rivers

Oprah shared details of her conversation with Rivers about her weight. The media mogul has been candid about her weight struggles over the years. In February, Oprah decided to step down from the Weight Watchers board of directors after a decade, following her disclosure of using weight loss medication.

Oprah Winfrey recalls conversation with Joan Rivers

Oprah Winfrey at
Oprah Winfrey opened up about embarrassing moment she was questioned about her weight by TV host Joan Rivers (Vera Anderson/WireImage)

On a recent episode of 'The Jamie Kern Lima Show' podcast, Oprah recalled her experience being interviewed by the late comedian Joan Rivers on 'The Tonight Show' in 1985. 

She discussed Rivers' blunt comment about her weight while they were supposed to focus on the success of Oprah's Chicago-based talk show.

"Joan Rivers turned to me and asked, 'Tell me, why are you so fat?' ... on national television," Oprah recalled. "I didn't know how to respond. I simply said, 'Well, I just love potato chips, Joan.' 

She persisted, saying, “No, seriously! Shame on you! Shame on you!” The 70-year-old television icon remembered Rivers telling her she could only return to the show if she lost 15 pounds. 

"She said to me on national television, 'I'll let you come back if you lose 15 pounds. You need to lose 15 pounds,'" Oprah recounted. Reflecting on that moment, Oprah admitted she agreed to try to lose the weight but ultimately didn't succeed. "I ended up gaining another 10 pounds instead," she concluded

Internet says Joan Rivers 'sounds a lot like my grandmother'

LONDON - SEPTEMBER 02: Actress and comedien Joan Rivers gestures during a photocall for her new play 'A Work in Progress by a Life in Progress' at the Leicester Square Theatre on September 2, 2008 in London, England. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Joan Rivers reportedly fat-shamed Oprah Winfrey on 'The Tonight Show' (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

After Oprah opened up about being body-shamed by Joan Rivers social media users shared their comments about the late TV host.

One user mocked, "Joan sounds a lot like my grandmother." Another user claimed, "Oprah trying to play the victim hilarious."  

The third one agreed with Oprah's statement, "I saw that interview. I love Joan but she went hard on Oprah. I was embarrassed for her."  Another user said, "Everybody was body shamed by Joan lol, that's how she was, and we loved her. No Joan slander will be tolerated." One person said, "Joan had the mouth of a sailor I’m not surprised" 

The last user criticized Orpah's response to Rivers, "You should have said because I don’t want to workout or follow a diet and I’m waiting for someone to invent a drug so I don’t have to do anything."

Oprah Winfrey reveals how she landed a role in 1985 film 'The Color Purple'


Oprah also revealed that she had auditioned for the role in the 1985 film 'The Color Purple' but heard nothing back, assuming she hadn't been chosen due to her weight. She then decided to attend a health retreat, known as a "fat farm" at the time.

During her stay there, Winfrey began to accept that the role might not be hers when she unexpectedly received a phone call from the film's director, Steven Spielberg.

"I cried and prayed some more, and in the moment I felt the release ... a woman comes running out and she says, 'There's a phone call for you,'" she recounted. "The phone call from Steven Spielberg saying, 'I hear you're at a fat farm," she said. 

"You lose a pound, you could lose this part.' The fact that it happened in the instant I'd know[n] I'd let it go was the greatest life lesson I have ever received," Oprah said. 

"I physically felt the release, and I saw that the second I did that, it changed" Winfrey continued. "The second I stopped resisting, the second I stopped wondering, the second I stopped putting myself in the fear space and said, 'It is well.

"Use me how you choose to use me. I thought this was the answer, but now I see it's not. I'm willing to be open to wherever you take me.' The instant, I did that, I saw that woman," Oprah recalled. 

"That became my grounding teaching for the rest of my life and career," she concluded. "Do everything you can, work as hard as you can, and then let it go," she added. 

Oprah, of course, went on to secure the role of Sofia in 'The Color Purple' and received an Oscar nomination for her performance.

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