The Real Reason Oprah And Stedman Aren’t Married

Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham have been in a committed relationship for more than 35 years, but they have yet to make it to the altar —and they most likely never will. Despite having a devoted partner by her side for nearly four decades, the media mogul once confirmed to Access Hollywood that she has every intention of leaving this earth as a “never-married” woman. “Yeah, I think that’s my final answer,” she told host Shaun Robinson in 2013.

In a 2015 episode of her spiritual talk show Super Soul Sunday, Oprah revealed that her longtime romantic partner, whom she met in 1986 at a charity event, would be the first to admit they would not still be together had they tied the knot many years ago because he would have had certain expectations of her as a wife.  “If you ever interviewed him, he would tell you that had we married, we would not be together today,” Oprah said of Graham, per E! News. “Because he’s a traditional man and this is a very untraditional relationship. I think it’s acceptable as a relationship, but if I had the title ‘wife,’ I think there would be other expectations for what a wife is and what a wife does.”

But that does not mean the couple hasn’t considered marriage.

Oprah and Stedman were once engaged

Nearly 30 years ago, Stedman Graham, then 41, actually did pop the question to the 38-year-old Oprah Winfrey Show host by telling her matter-of-factly, “I want you to marry me. I think it’s time.” The couple’s 1992 engagement was announced in a splashy People cover story titled, “Oprah’s Engaged!” The two planned to wed in 1993 and they even considered having children together. “At one point in Chicago I had bought an additional apartment because I was thinking, ‘Well, if we get married, I’m going to need room for children,'” Oprah Winfrey told People.

But in a column penned for O The Oprah Magazine, Oprah admitted that she had doubts about getting married “the moment” after she said ‘yes’ to the proposal. “I realized I didn’t actually want a marriage. I wanted to be asked,” she wrote. “I wanted to know he felt I was worthy of being his missus, but I didn’t want the sacrifices, the compromises, the day-in-day-out commitment required to make a marriage work. My life with the show was my priority, and we both knew it.”

They never moved forward with their wedding planning and their engaged status was no more. Decades later, the OWN head honcho enjoys a “spiritual partnership” with her lifelong love, who continues to let her “be” who she needs to be in the world without demanding anything from her. “I have not had one regret about that,” Oprah said of her decision never to marry Graham or have children with him.

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