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This Host Turned Down Taking Oprah Winfrey's Spot On Her Talk Show

TheThings logo TheThings 6/25/2022 Gia Marcos
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Oprah Winfrey has quite the Midas touch. Her bombshell interviews always go trending and the books she promotes in her book club become instant bestsellers. So it's crazy that a host once turned down her influential spot in her popular talk show. Here's the real story behind that.

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Gayle King Rejected The Offer To Replace Oprah Winfrey

Gayle King—who's been friends with Winfrey for over 40 years—was once offered to replace the Queen of daytime talk TV. The CBS broadcaster recently revealed on Drew Barrymore's web series, The Art of the Interview that she turned down the "huge opportunity" to prioritize her children. "It would be great for me, it'd be really great for me," King told the actress. "But that wouldn't be fair to them." The journalist also recalled that back then, Winfrey wanted to quit her show to focus on acting.

"[Winfrey] was talking about giving the show up because she wanted to go into acting. She wanted go to into acting, she wanted to act full-time because she loved acting," shared King. "So her plan was, 'You move to Chicago and we'll incorporate you in the show, so at the end of the year, I can sort of pass the baton.' And I was really ... imagine a huge opportunity. I was really excited about that. And the kids were, you know, we were divorced so they were still young and then I realized that that wouldn't be fair to them."

The TV presenter co-parents a daughter, Kirby, and son, William Jr. with her ex-husband, William Bumpus. King married Bumpus in 1982. Their marriage ended in 1993 after she discovered he was cheating. "This was in the days before cell phones and the airline used call and say 'Your flight is canceled but we can get you on a flight if you leave right now,'" King told Winfrey of the time she found out. "So I threw the kids in the car, we rushed to the airport. I came home, actually a day early. He wasn't expecting to see me and I wasn't expecting to see her. She was married and they were friends of ours."

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Inside Gayle King & Oprah Winfrey's Longtime Friendship

King and Winfrey's friendship goes all the way back to 1976 when they first met as 20-something journalists. In the August 2006 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, the two revealed that their friendship really developed when Winfrey asked King to stay with her for the night during a snowstorm. "We became friends that first night because for the first time, I met somebody who I felt was like me," King recounted. "I'd never met anybody like that. Certainly not another Black girl. I grew up in an all-white community."

"It's that whole being-the-odd-girl-out thing—we didn't fit in to everybody else’s perception of what it’s like to be a Black girl," Winfrey added to which King responded: "But we still had a very strong sense of being Black and were very proud of being Black. So to meet another Black girl like that was, wow!" Winfrey was also a strong support system for King during her split from her ex-husband. "It was a terrible moment and anybody who has been betrayed that way, in your own home, you know how that destroys your spirit. How it shatters you," Winfrey said of Bumpus' infidelity.

"So if anybody's gonna cheat, don't bring the person to your house," she continued, adding that King has been nothing but a good mother and wife. "That is the most disrespectful thing you can do. But in spite of that, you were the kind of mother who never said anything negative around your children, who wanted their father to still be engaged in their life and made it possible for him to still be in their life. Why?"

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The Secret To Gayle King & Oprah Winfrey's Lasting Friendship

Winfrey revealed via Instagram that being "happy with their own lives" is the key to her decades-long friendship with King. "I can't tell you how many times people have introduced me to their best friends as, 'She's my Gayle.' The reason our friendship has worked for over 40 years, without arguments or fallouts, is that we've always been happy with our own lives," the billionaire wrote alongside a photo of them on the cover of Oprah Magazine.

"A true friend can't be jealous of you, or want to take advantage of you in any way," Winfrey continued. "Ever since we met in 1976, we've been doing the same thing. Listening. Talking. Laughing (a lot). Building dreams. Cheering. Being a shoulder to cry on. Speaking the truth. Being the truth."

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