Oprah Winfrey revealed on Hoda Kotb’s “Making Space” podcast that she doesn’t have many friends, with only three she considers her closest.
One of them is Maria Shriver, who met Winfrey 42 years ago one morning in the bathroom of a Baltimore TV station.
“I forever think it was, like, a divine moment that happened because she was one of my real, lifelong friendships that have carried me throughout my career,” said Winfrey.
“So I don’t have a lot of friends. Everyone knows Gayle (King). There’s Gayle, there’s Maria, there’s Bob (Greene). And that’s … that’s about it, you know?
Winfrey and Shriver first opened up about their friendship on the podcast. And as you can imagine, being friends with Winfrey is quite an experience.
It was the little things that kept them close. For Shriver, it was cups of coffee that Winfrey made for him.
“It was so emotional for me because I didn’t – that’s not how I grew up, you know?” No one brought me a cup of coffee or a cup of water, ”said Shriver. “In a funny way, even though I had a very close relationship with my mother, I wasn’t nurtured, mothered that way, was I? And (Oprah) wasn’t mothered in her own way. But I think, in a way, we fed each other. “
The two women experienced what Winfrey called “assaults and micro-assaults” early in their careers. Shriver was there before Winfrey became Oprah.
“There is gravel. There are sleepless nights. There is Nashville. There’s Baltimore, ”said Shriver. “There is work to go up. We shout at it. They say that you are, you know, also this, also that, also whatever.
Winfrey recalled one of her lowest moments after starting her own network, a time she called “humiliation for me.”
“Every newspaper, everyone said, ‘You should have kept your day job. The OWN in difficulty. Why did you leave The Oprah Show? It’s a disaster.’ Just one story, after another story, after another story, ”she said.
“I remember laying my head on the table, Maria, and just sobbing.”
The couple were together when a song came out, “By Thy Grace”, by Snatam Kaur. The two women began to sing.
“And I was like, ‘How do you know this song?’ And she said to me, “How do you know this song?” Said Shriver, who was parting ways at the time and said the song had helped her.
Shriver started making calls right away and discovered the singer was nearby. She persuaded her to visit him for Winfrey’s birthday, when they sat on the porch to watch the sunset.
The song started playing and Winfrey thought it was coming from a speaker. “And then I turn around and Snatam Kaur walks down the porch stairs, because she was on the upstairs balcony. She walks down the porch stairs. And that was the most out of body, surreal – I think the tears literally popped out of my eyes, ”Winfrey said.
She called it a healing experience that helped her think differently about her struggle.
Shriver also recalled the moment after the death of her mother, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, when Winfrey gathered her close friends at her home and called them Team Maria. Each friend chose a word for Shriver and engraved it on a crystal stone. Winfrey’s word was ‘cherish’.
To Shriver, it meant the world. “Because I don’t feel like I’ve been loved in my life. Pushed, motivated – you know, all those words, sort of, really strong – but not darling. “
Big gestures aside, both women said it’s the little moments, like cups of coffee or a text to check in, that keep them connected.
“I grew up in a big family, in a big life. But when I close my eyes, it’s the little moments, ”said Shriver. “It’s you who dines with me.” She is the one who brings the coffee. It is to laugh. I think we are all driven to experience these great, great moments. But I think it’s the little moments that people don’t have to have that are really the moments of transformation.
And the two friends told Kotb that as they get older, they feel less compelled to please others. For Winfrey, the best part of aging is having nothing more to prove.
“Whatever you do, you choose to do because it’s going to give you pleasure, meaning, pleasure – fulfill some kind of purpose that you want or desire. But you don’t have to prove anything, ”she said. “Nothing to prove because you’ve already proven it.”
Listen to the whole conversation on “Make space with Hoda Kotb,” wherever you get your podcasts.