Oprah Winfrey may have just celebrated her 65th birthday, but she has no plans to settle into retirement any time in the near future. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, the talk show queen talked about her milestone birthday and made it clear that while 65 is the number of which the United States government has said “you’re officially old and are going to retire,” she doesn’t fall into that category.
Winfrey told ET that she doesn’t “believe” in retirement and that aging doesn’t bother her because she thinks of those who died young and didn’t get to experience getting older. When asked about retirement, Oprah recalled the early death of the late Princess Diana, who perished in a 1997 car crash in Paris when she was only 36-years-old.
“I always think about the people who didn’t make it,” Oprah said. “I think about the people, I think about the number, and I’ve been thinking about it since my 40s. … For every single birthday that I get to experience, I think it’s a gift and a blessing. I think about the people who didn’t make it.”
When Oprah Winfrey ended her iconic talk show in 2011 after 25 seasons, many people assumed she would retire from the television industry altogether. Instead, she put her focus into the launch of her Oprah Winfrey TV network and continued to host shows, such as Oprah: Where are they Now? and Super Soul Sunday.
In a 2015 interview with Variety, Oprah Winfrey said that while she is not retired, she found “real freedom” when her eponymous talk show ended in 2011. Winfrey said real freedom is waking up in the morning and “deciding for yourself what to do with the day.”
While she has long been juggling her work on Oprah Winfrey Network, Harpo Studios, and her long-running O Magazine—which always features her on the cover— as well as her podcast and an acting career, Oprah now has the luxury of deciding what projects she wants to work on in front of the camera or behind the scenes.
As for the fans who keep asking her about her plans to retire, Winfrey told ET she recently was approached by a bookstore cashier who assumed she was buying books to read because she has so much free time during her supposed “retirement.” Oprah Winfrey admitted that instead of lecturing the bookstore employee about her feelings on retirement, she hightailed it out of the store without even waiting for a bag for her purchase.