Why Gayle King Never Parts With Oprah Winfrey’s Gift, and How They’ve Maintained Their Friendship for Over 46 Years

TV presenters Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King have been friends for over 46 years. In all this time, the women’s warm relationship could have been soured by various factors: jealousy of each other’s success, or differences in financial situations. But they overcame these difficulties and realized what it is that’s kept them friends for so long.

The likelihood of Oprah and Gayle becoming friends was low

Gayle and Oprah met while they were both working at the TV station WJZ-TV. King was just starting out her career, working as a production assistant, while Winfrey was already a TV presenter. Because of the studio’s hierarchy, people in their positions didn’t usually have to interact.

The women were brought together by a misfortune: Gayle couldn’t get home during a snowstorm, so Oprah offered to let her spend the night at her house. They spent the whole night chatting and have been best friends ever since. The next morning, Winfrey lent King some clothes for work, and Gayle still remembers what kind of dress it was: purple with a scoop neck and bell sleeves.

Their friendship could have been complicated by work

Gayle later started working for Oprah in her magazine. Many people would be bothered by this situation, as it’s not easy to stay friends with your boss, but these women didn’t question their relationship. Oprah revealed that Gayle wasn’t afraid to express her disagreement when she felt it was necessary: “That’s why Gayle’s so great for me at the magazine — she’s going to have almost exactly the same opinion that I do. But when she doesn’t agree, she’ll fight for her opinion.”

The two friends also managed to overcome another difficulty: the difference in their financial situations. One day, when Oprah was already comfortable in her earnings, she happened to find a significant sum of money in her pocket, so she offered it to Gayle. It would have definitely come in handy for King, but she refused. And that impressed Winfrey: “You know what that’s like? That is incredible for somebody like me who lives in a world where everybody wants a piece of you. I mean, people feel they deserve a piece of you.”

The friends have shared many heart-warming moments on TV

Although Oprah is considered a real star, Gayle has never been overshadowed. For example, she’s appeared on The Oprah Show many times. She made her debut on the show in 1986, and for good reason: it was an episode about celebrities and their best friends.

Eventually, the show even added a segment called Oprah & Gayle’s Big Adventures. One of the most memorable trips was their car journey from California to New York, filled with amusing bickering over listening to the radio.

Oprah and Gayle know what gifts make each other happy

ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection / East News

Over the years, the friends have given each other many memorable gifts. People noticed that Gayle always wears a heart-shaped pendant. This turned out to be a gift from Oprah. She gave it to Gayle after her divorce, with the words “One day your heart will sing, from your heart to mine. You’ll get through this.”

But the best gift, according to King, was a different one. When she gave birth to her second child, only 11 months after her first, Oprah hired a live-in nanny for her, a gift every parent would appreciate.

Oprah celebrated her 40th birthday on the show, in the company of the audience and celebrities; the only thing she lacked for complete happiness was the presence of her best friend. So Winfrey was moved to tears when King surprised her and suddenly appeared on stage.

The friends spend holidays together and sometimes celebrate in unusual ways

Gayle’s birthday is on December 28th. It could easily get lost among Christmas and New Year’s Eve celebrations, but Winfrey makes sure her friend’s big day doesn’t go unnoticed. That’s why Gayle usually spends the last weeks of December in Hawaii, where she celebrates with her family and Oprah. In 2022, King was faced with various obstacles, and due to a flight delay, had a hard time getting to Winfrey’s house, but it was all worth it, because there was a surprise party waiting for her there.

One year, the two friends found an unusual way to celebrate the end of that same year: they went on a hike together. Although the adventure wasn’t an easy one, and the five-hour trek ended up lasting seven hours, the women found the strength to joke and laugh at themselves.

They look after each other in any situation

The two friends are always there for each other, not only in happy moments, but also in difficult ones. For example, when King first had to spend New Year’s Eve alone after her divorce because her children were staying with her ex-husband, she called Oprah for a chat. Just a few hours later, someone rang her doorbell. What a surprise it was for Gayle when in front of her she saw Oprah, who had come to support her.

A few years later, Gayle gave a similar surprise to Oprah and flew in from out of town as soon as she heard over the phone that her friend was having a bad time. And when rapper 50 Cent publicly spoke badly of Oprah, it was Gayle who called him out for it. Afterwards, King organized the rapper’s appearance on Oprah’s Next Chapter show, in which he and Winfrey finally ended their feud.

Winfrey and King know the secret to their strong friendship

Oprah and Gayle’s friendship has lasted over 46 years, and people often wonder how they’ve managed to stay friends so long. Oprah definitely knows the answer to that question: “Surround yourself with someone who is as happy for your happiness as you are for your happiness. You need friends that are happy in their own lives so that they can actually be authentically happy for you.”

What, do you think, is the secret to a strong and lasting friendship?

Preview photo credit ABC / Courtesy Everett Collection / East News
Cheery/People/Why Gayle King Never Parts With Oprah Winfrey’s Gift, and How They’ve Maintained Their Friendship for Over 46 Years
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