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Oprah's Secret: A Sister She Didn't Know She Had

Oprah Winfrey and her half sister, Patricia.
CBS
Oprah Winfrey and her half sister, Patricia.
"The Oprah Winfrey Show"

NEW YORK (CBS/AP) Oprah Winfrey has shared her big secret: she recently learned she has a half-sister she never knew about.

On Monday's episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show," a sometimes-emotional Winfrey introduced a woman she identified only as Patricia, explaining how the woman's years-long search for her family culminated in a meeting with Winfrey on Thanksgiving Day of last year.

PICTURES: Oprah Winfrey

The discovery is "the miracle of all miracles," Winfrey told her audience.

Winfrey said she was stunned to learn about the sibling, telling her audience that when Patricia was born in 1963, Winfrey was 8 years old and living with her father. She did not even know her mother was pregnant.

Winfrey said she was particularly stunned by the news because of the way it came out. She said Patricia had known since 2007 that the two were related, but she never attempted to profit off her discovery or contact the press, even as she tried unsuccessfully to contact Winfrey, her mother or others in Winfrey's family.

"She never once thought to sell the story," Winfrey said, describing how she felt betrayed by other relatives who sought publicity or money.

Earlier, Winfrey promised the revelation would be a bombshell.

"I was given some news that literally shook me to my core. This time, I'm the one being reunited," she said in a promo for Monday's show. "I was keeping a family secret for months, and on Monday you're going to hear it straight from me."

Through the years, Winfrey has shared some of her most intimate secrets, ranging from an abusive childhood to drug abuse. Her admission  that she had given birth as a teenager to a son who died shortly afterward came after a relative sold the story to a tabloid in 1990. Winfrey has also discussed her childhood molestation.

The Chicago-based syndicated "Oprah Winfrey Show" is in its 25th and final season. The Oprah Winfrey Network, OWN, launched in January.

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