Oprah Winfrey is speaking out on the death of her mother, Vernita Lee. The media mogul’s mother passed away at her home in Milwaukee at age 83, as previously shared by the Inquisitr.
A few hours after news broke about Vernita Lee’s death, Oprah Winfrey posted a photo to Instagram, which shows her mother sitting at a large table during a family gathering at a restaurant. The photo includes more than a dozen of Winfrey’s family members, including several children, as well as Oprah’s longtime love, Stedman Graham. The Oprah Winfrey Show icon captioned the family photo with a thank you to fans as she mourns the loss of her mother.
“Thank you all for your kind words and condolences regarding my mother Vernita Lee’s passing,” Winfrey wrote. “It gives our family great comfort knowing she lived a good life and is now at Peace.”
According to Good Morning America, Vernita Lee was predeceased by son Jeffery Lee and daughter Patricia Lee Lloyd and is survived by daughters Oprah Winfrey and Patricia Faye Lee, as well as numerous children and great-grandchildren. A private funeral was held with the family.
You can see Oprah Winfrey’s message to fans about the death of her mother below.
Oprah Winfrey was raised by her grandmother, Hattie Mae Lee, in Mississippi before she went to live with her mom when she was 6-years-old. The talk show queen has been vocal about her difficult early relationship with her mother, telling the Huffington Post she really didn’t know her mother when she moved in with her in the late 1950s. The two women became closer in later years, and when Oprah discovered she had a half-sister, Patricia, whom her mother had given up for adoption 47 years prior, she embraced her new sibling with open arms.
On her talk show, Oprah Winfrey also addressed her mother Vernita’s “shame” about it in a 2010 episode about the family secret.
After an on-camera visit with Patricia and Vernita, Oprah said that her mother was still “carrying the shame that would have been put upon her in 1963, and therefore, she hasn’t been able to release herself to fully embrace [Patricia] and embrace this miracle that has really happened in our family.”
“You can let that go,” Oprah told her mother. “You can let the shame go. There are millions of people all over this country who are just like you, who have given up their children because they knew at the time that they could not provide the best for them. So, Vernita, you can let that go.”