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Oprah: "I Am Not a Lesbian"

Remember how Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King were riffing about being lesbians during their campout. It was just a joke, people.
/ Source: E!online

Remember how Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King were riffing about being lesbians during their campout. It was just a joke, people.

Facing questions from Barbara Walters in an ABC special called Oprah: The Next Chapter, Winfrey makes it clear that longtime sidekick King is simply her BFF and declares that Stedman Graham really is the love of her life.

"I'm not a lesbian...I'm not even kind of a lesbian," Winfrey says. "And the reason it irritates me is because it means that somebody must think I'm lying. That's No. 1. No. 2...why would you want to hide it? That's not the way I run my life."

But there is something about King that makes Winfrey start bawling during the confessional.

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"She is the mother I never had, she is the sister everybody would want. She is the friend that everybody deserves. I don't know a better person. I don't know a better person," Oprah says, explaining in all their years together, she's never told Gayle this.

The waterworks start as Winfrey strolls down memory lane, recalling their 30-year friendship. She and King met while both were employed at a local Baltimore TV station in their 20s and rumors they are gay have followed them as Oprah's career skyrocketed.

"It's making me cry because I'm thinking much...I probably have never told her that. Tissue please. I now need tissue. I've never told her that," says Winfrey.

As for Stedman, we've only seen glimpses of the businessman with Winfrey throughout the years. Oprah recently revealed on her favorite things episode that he'd only ever been to two tapings of her show.

But now the media mogul is gushing over him like a schoolgirl.

"The love...the lover...the man...the partner...the mate," Winfrey says of Graham, her partner since 1986. "I do not know of another man on this planet...who could have lived this life with such dignity, with such grace and such respect and humility in it. And still hold his own and be his own."

Winfrey tells Walters she is planning on moving from Chicago to her 42-acre estate in Santa Barbara in May when her talk show ends after 25 years. But she and Graham still won't marry--although adoption isn't out of the question.

"For a while I thought 'Well maybe,' every time I went to Africa, and Stedman says this too. Every time I went to Africa he didn't know when I got off the plane if I was going to have one or two or 10 children," she says.

Winfrey, with an estimated worth of $2.7 billion by Forbes, says she could not have done both earlier in her career.

"I could not...have had this life and lived it with the level of intensity that is required to do this show the way it's done," she says. "I'd be one of those people that the kid's coming and saying, 'Mom, you've neglected me.'...So I have no regrets about that. I have none...not one regret about not havging children because I believe the way it's supposed to be."

Winfrey admits to feeling fears about starting the OWN network, saying it's a lot more work that she'd ever imagined.

"I would wake up in the middle of the night literally clutching my chest, like 'What have I done? What have I done?'" she says.

The full special airs Thursday night on ABC.

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