Oprah Winfrey is opening up about a traumatic childhood moment.
Ahead of the media mogul’s appearance on The Dr. Oz Showon Thursday, ET has an exclusive clip of Winfrey emotionally recounting a terrifying moment she’s never shared about until now. In the video, Winfrey, who is promoting her new book, What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience and Healing, gets candid about the memory that is linked to her feeling unsafe while sleeping.
“My grandmother and I slept in the bed together. My grandfather was in a room on the other side of the wall and one night in the middle of the night, my grandfather gets out of bed and comes into the room,” she recalls. “And I wake up and he has his hands around my grandmother’s neck and she is screaming.”
“She manages to push him off of her and step over him. He falls. She steps over him and runs to the front door. I run out of the bed with her. It’s pitch black in the middle of the night in rural Mississippi,” she continues. “And she goes out on the porch and she starts screaming ‘Henry, Henry.’ There is an old man who lived down the road that we call Cousin Henry, he was blind.”
Winfrey then gets visibly emotional, as she admits that this is the first time she’s publicly talked about the moment.
“Cousin Henry comes down the road in the middle of the night to help my grandmother get my grandfather up off the floor,” she continues. “And after that my grandmother put a chair underneath the doorknob and some tin cans around the chair. And that is how we slept every night. I’m sleeping, I always slept with, listening for the cans. Listening for what happens if that doorknob moves.”
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Winfrey’s new book, out now, with collaborator neuroscientist Dr. Bruce Perry, is a moving and healing book about trauma therapy. The two bring their considerable experience and expertise to the fore in this helpful, informative and practical guide that offers much-needed insight on complex PTSD, trauma bonds and intense stress.
Winfrey’s full episode of The Dr. Oz Show will air on Thursday, April 29. Check your local listings for more information.
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