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Oprah's dad says he learned sister secret when he watched the show

Jan. 26, 2011 at 10:51 AM ET

When Oprah Winfrey announced her big family secret on the air this week, viewers weren’t the only ones learning about her half-sister, Patricia, for the first time. According to the Queen of Talk’s father, even he had no idea about the news until show time.

“I knew nothing about it until (Monday), but it was tear-jerking to me because it felt like a ‘coming home’ actually,” Vernon Winfrey, who’s no relation to the newly revealed sibling, explained in an interview with Radar Online.

In addition to the positive feelings Winfrey had on behalf of his famous daughter after watching the episode, he also felt sympathy for O’s mother, Vernita Lee. On Monday’s "Oprah Winfrey Show,” it was revealed that Lee gave up Patricia for adoption and later resisted her biological child’s attempts to contact her.

In a pre-recorded segment of the show, Lee admitted she avoided all contact and never revealed the truth about Patricia “because I thought it was a terrible thing for me to do, that I had done — gave up my daughter when she was born.”

The senior Winfrey strongly disagrees.

“I don’t blame (Vernita) for giving up Patricia because I know it was done out of love and she just wanted a better life for her,” the daytime host's dad said. “I intend to call Vernita and tell her to hold her head-up high because she has done nothing to feel ashamed of and she is a loving kind of person.”

Vernon Winfrey told Radar Online he hopes to one day meet the newest addition to his daughter's family.

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