Oprah Winfrey took extra precautions during the coronavirus pandemic.
During a Friday interview with The Los Angeles Times, Winfrey, 68, revealed that she didn't leave her house for nearly a year when the world went into lockdown in 2020.
“I’ve been so careful with myself that my own friends make fun of me,” the media mogul said. “I didn’t leave home for 322 days — literally did not leave the house. So it has not been for me personally a heavy burden to bear. It was only the latter part of 2021 that it started to wear on me like, ‘OK, had enough of this.’”
Although she was at home for such a long period of time, Winfrey said that it didn't bother her at all. She was "surprised" by "how well" she was able to "adjust to the isolation and not being around other people."
"I remember one point [Gayle King] said, 'Don’t you just miss being around other people?' I go, 'Eh, not really.' And I think it’s because every day, I was in an audience of 350 people twice a day, so I’ve had shaking hands and autographs and selfies, and lots of attention, and exposure to being around a lot of people," she said.
"I was able to be with myself in a way that I haven’t been able to for years, because usually, even if I take time off for myself, I’m thinking about what is the next thing to come," Winfrey added.
Staying at home taught Winfrey to stop worrying and be very present in the moment. She said that she was "blessed" to not have to worry about rent or getting food or taking care of any kids because she's worked hard for the life that she has.
"I make no apologies for it," she said.
However, Winfrey does know how much the coronavirus pandemic has affected people. The death of one man, Gary Fowler, hit close to home: In 2020, Fowler died of COVID-19 in his Grosse Pointe Woods home after he tried to get help at multiple hospitals in Detroit, but was ultimately denied care.
Hours before he took his last breath, Fowler wrote on a piece of paper, "Heartbeat irregular ... oxygen level low," per the Detroit Free Press.
Winfrey said that moment really struck a chord with her because she would've done the same thing.
“I would want people to know at the last minute what I was feeling, what I was thinking, so I’d be probably journaling what those feelings were so that my family would have an idea of what exactly had happened,” she said.
Winfrey was so taken by Fowler's story that she executive produced "The Color of Care," a documentary that explores how "people of color suffer from systemically substandard healthcare in the United States."
"I still was feeling for all the people who were losing people and also people who couldn’t get appointments that they needed for just regular illnesses or checkups, because the hospitals are filled," she said.
However, Winfrey said that she noticed how differently celebrities get treated from regular people, giving her "particularly strong empathy" for those who struggle to get the care they need.
"You get the doctor’s appointment," if you're famous, Winfrey said. "You don’t have to wait in line. You don’t have to deal with a lot of excess delays that other people have."