Oprah Reveals Name of Baby Son Who Died


Oprah Winfrey revealed that she has named the son she gave birth to when she was 14 years old.

Winfrey was speaking at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, Australia, on Wednesday as part of her “An Evening With Oprah” tour and mentioned to the 15,000-person audience that she’d recently been encouraged to name the baby boy, who was born prematurely when the talk show host was a young teen. “I did an interview with a reporter before I came to Australia, and she said you should name the baby son who died,” Winfrey, 61, said, according to News.com.au. “So I have named him. I had a little boy named Canaan. I did have a son. And I named him Canaan because Canaan means ‘new land, new life.’”

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Spokespeople for Winfrey did not respond to Yahoo Parenting’s request for comment.

News of Winfrey’s son broke in 1990 when a relative sold the star’s secret to the National Enquirer for $19,000, according to a column in the February 2007 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine. “Only my family and closest friends knew,” she wrote. “I would tell no one until I felt safe enough to share my dark past: the years I was sexually abused, from age 10 to 14, my resulting promiscuity as a teenager, and finally, at 14, my becoming pregnant. I was so ashamed, I hid the pregnancy until my swollen ankles and belly gave me away. The baby died in the hospital weeks later.”

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According to News.com.au, while in Australia, Winfrey spoke candidly about the abuse she suffered as a child. “I was raped at 9 years old by a cousin, then again by another family member, and another family member,” she said. Even after she publicly revealed her abuse, Winfrey said she kept her pregnancy secret due to “pain and shame.”

In her 2007 column, Winfrey said that when her secret came out, she considered it to be the first time she was truly betrayed. But in the end, the revelation was freeing. “I imagined that every person on the street was going to point their finger at me and scream, ‘Pregnant at 14, you wicked girl … expelled!’ No one said a word, though — not strangers, not the people I knew. I was shocked. Nobody treated me differently,” she wrote. “For 20 years, I had been expecting a reaction that never came. And I soon realized that having the secret out was liberating. Not until then could I begin the repair work on my spirit for the sexual abuse and damage done to me as a young girl. I realized that all those years, I had been blaming myself. What I learned for sure was that holding the shame was the greatest burden of all.”

(Photo: Getty Images)

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