Oprah is one of the most influential women of our time. According to Forbes, her current net worth is over $2.7 billion dollars. Simply put, when Oprah speaks, the world listens! She has single-handedly transformed her talk show into a multi-million dollar business expansion, inclusive of her own cable channel, a stake in Weight Watchers, and an Apple streaming service, just to name a few.
To be in Oprah’s inner circle is truly to belong to an elite club of incredible wealth and privilege. However, those who are not lucky enough to be part of her inner circle, are likely not “in” as a result of having conflicting views. She’s used her talk show as a forum to convey her personal opinions and has surrounded herself only with those who are like-minded. Let’s take a peek at 15 People Who Are Part Of Oprah’s Inner Circle, And 5 Who Are Out…
20 In: Gayle King
Gayle King is recognized as Oprah’s closest bestie of all-time. The two have maintained a friendship for over 40 years, and it’s safe to say Gayle is at the top of the hierarchy when it comes to being in Oprah’s inner circle. She’s the closest female in Oprah’s life, and it appears this has always been the case. According to Oprah Magazine, the two met while working at WJZ Station when they were in their 20s, and have not missed a beat since then.
19 In : Deepak Chopra
Deepak Chopra has been deeply imbedded in Oprah’s inner circle since the ‘90s, after appearing on her show. She’s credited for helping him rise to fame as she strongly supported and promoted his philosophies surrounding the mind, body, & spirit connections. She has collaborated with him through business, and at one point during her own show she referred to him as “one of the greatest leaders of our time.”
18 In: Tyler Perry
Media Mogul Tyler Perry has called Oprah his personal friend for quite some time. Their friendship was originally rooted in his involvement in her network, and evolved from there. They shared mutual success through the OWN Network, and were often spotted on red carpets together, spending time with one another casually.
17 In: Julia Roberts
Julia Roberts has made numerous appearances on Oprah’s show and magazine. The two are very good friends and have been known to frequently spend quality time together. Julia summed up her friendship with Oprah during an interview with Extra. She was quoted as saying “I've made a lifelong friend in that woman. I think she's one of the highlights of humankind. I'm lucky that she's my pal."
16 In: Dr.Phil
It’s safe to say that Dr.Phil owes his celebrity career to Oprah Winfrey. In the ‘90s, he appeared on her show and that was in fact his very first television appearance – ever! Talk about an amazing first-crack at TV! She assisted him in launching and producing his show on her network, and they’ve continued to work and spend personal time together over the course of their 20-year friendship.
15 In: Meghan Markle
Well, it was definitely a Royal affair when Meghan wed Harry, and Oprah was among the exclusive friends that made the guest list. Not only is she friends with Meghan, but she also made headlines across the world when she was spotted spending time with Meghan’s mother, Doria Ragland. They apparently went to yoga together, and then lunched at Oprah’s house!
14 In: Prince Harry
Don’t be fooled, Oprah’s invite to the Royal wedding wasn’t one-sided. She’s not just friends with Meghan; she’s close with Prince Harry as well. According to reports by Deadline, she and Prince Harry have partnered up to produce a series about mental health which will be featured on Apple TV.
13 In: Beyoncé
Beyoncé and Oprah first met on the show when Beyoncé appeared to perform with Destiny’s Child. She then continued to appear on the show when she broke-out as a solo artist and continued to share moments with Oprah both on and off air. They also joined forces to raise funds during Hurricane Harvey.
12 In: Ava Duvernay
It was during her press tour for A Wrinkle In Time that Oprah felt a connection to director Ava DuVernay. She told various news outlets that she was drawn to Ava’s “warm, inviting presence,” and according to Yahoo News, she later invited her to an exclusive Mother’s Day event. The rest, as they say, is history.
11 In: Common
Common and Oprah have been friends for some time, and have been seen together on many separate occasions. Oprah has great respect for his approach to his music, his outlook on life, and has been impressed by the American rapper’s philanthropic contributions over the years. He’s definitely in her inner circle!
10 In: David Oyelowo
According to the Hollywood Reporter, David Oyelowo made his directorial debut with The Water Man which was produced by Oprah, so it’s safe to say they have a great friendship! He tops the list of very exclusive VIPs that get invited to her house for dinner on special occasions, and they’ve been seen on the red carpet together many times.
9 In: Steven Spielberg
Oprah and Steven Spielberg are pals in their personal lives and have invested a lot into working together professionally as well. According to the Star Tribune, the two paired up to help Apple launch their new streaming service – and touted a massive crowd of their A-List friends and supporters to create even more buzz!
8 In: Maya Angelou
On her very own Instagram feed, Oprah has referred to Maya Angelou as her “Mentor, mother, sister, and friend.” It’s safe to say this poet & author makes the cut when listing Oprah’s closest friends. News of Maya’s passing really rattled Oprah, who took to social media outlets to honor her friend.
7 In: Bono
This photo captures the 2006 “Magnificent Mile” walk in which Bono and Oprah united to host a benefit shopping spree. Proceeds of Bono’s new “red” product line were used to fight AIDS in Africa. Oprah has given much credit to Bono for his views and support of civil rights across the world.
6 In: Rihanna
Rihanna and Oprah have been friends for a while. Rihanna has shared her deepest, darkest moments on Oprah’s show, speaking of her ill-fated night with Chris Brown, and opening up about her personal struggles. The two have shared time off-air, uniting as friends and sharing good times as well. Rihanna even took Oprah on a tour of her childhood home in Barbados. It’s clear that these two leading-ladies have formed a special bond.
5 Out: Seal
It’s clear that Seal and Oprah won’t be dining together anytime soon. In 2018, he took to his Instagram and depicted Oprah in a meme, suggesting that she knew more than she “let on” about Harvey Weinstein’s actions. He suggested that Oprah knew what was happening and didn’t do anything to intervene. He’s entitled to his views, but if he was intending to stay friends with Oprah, he may have taken it too far with his diagramed memes!
4 Out: Ludacris
Oprah and Ludacris haven’t been fans of one another and it all comes down to lyrics and the portrayal of women in music. According to Mental Floss, he appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2006 to be interviewed as an actor, but she came down hard on him for his musical lyrics and views on women. He was not impressed, and accused her of editing his rebuttals and comments right out of the show.
3 Out: Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie definitely won't be topping any of Oprah’s “good” lists anytime soon. She dropped the ball when she refused to help Oprah promote her private school in Africa. Oprah obviously knew that Angelina had a deep connection to providing aid to African communities.
However, when she reached out to Angelina to assist with her Leadership Academy for Girls In South Africa, she received a hard “no.” Angelina was still peeved about Oprah siding with Jennifer Aniston over the break up with Brad Pitt and was dedicated to holding a grudge.
2 Out: Joan Rivers
One thing is for sure – if you make Oprah mad, she will never forget it. Joan Rivers upset her during an interview on the Tonight Show back in 1985, and that’s all it took to be eternally black-listed from Oprah’s friend-list. People says that during her interview of Oprah, Joan Rivers made a comment about Oprah’s weight which was broadcast on national television. She was essentially shamed, and would never be able to see past that experience.
1 Out: 50 Cent
When he was once asked about his views on Oprah, 50 Cent stated that “Oprah’s audience is my audience’s parents, so I could care less about Oprah or her show.” It’s safe to say that attitude won’t net anyone a new friendship. It has been reported that they have since made amends, but it’s unlikely he’ll ever be part of her inner circle, based on the comments he’s made about her in the past.
Sources: People, Access, Hollywood Insider, Mental Floss, Star Tribune, Yahoo News, Extra TV, Oprah Magazine.