During a recent appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, Oprah Winfrey proudly talked about her 15-pound weight loss and Weight Watchers. But when the show ended and she left New York's Ed Sullivan Theater, she was ambushed by a man claiming to be her secret son.
Winfrey is quite familiar with Calvin Mitchell, 35, especially since she attempted to help him and his family when he was a kid. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Winfrey set the record straight about Mitchell.
"I met Calvin around the early '90s; I think it was 1992. I was doing a film for television called There Are No Children Here," Oprah told ET. "We were shooting in the projects in Chicago and I was sitting on set during a break, and this cute little sparkly-eyed boy came underneath the yellow tape to hand me a soda. I was so charmed by him that I started talking to him about his family, his school life, and found out that he was in a situation where his mother didn't have a job and they were stuck in the projects."
Winfrey, being the benevolent person that she is, moved the family out of the projects, helped find the mother a job and enrolled Mitchell into a private school. Unfortunately, the problems didn't end there.
When Stedman Graham, Winfrey's partner, visited the family, he was informed that Mitchell wasn't attending school because he couldn't get up on time, since the family didn't have any clocks. Well, Winfrey solved that problem quickly.
"We realized they don't have any clocks in the house," she said. "We went out, Stedman and I, went to Kmart that moment, got a bag full of clocks, came back to the house, taught them how to set the alarm and all that."
And once again, Winfrey's help didn't work. Mitchell was expelled. That didn't stop Winfrey; she then enrolled Mitchell into a boarding school in Mississippi.
"I found a school in Mississippi that was a private boarding school because I thought if I could remove him from the environment that he'd been accustomed to growing up in, that maybe that would be helpful to him," Winfrey stated.
Eventually Mitchell was kicked out of that school, as well, and that's when Winfrey gave up. Winfrey recalled the last conversation she had with Mitchell in the early '90s.
"'I have tried to offer you an education twice—there isn't another school I can put you in. If you leave this school, I am done. There is nothing else I can do,'" Winfrey said she told Mitchell.
When Mitchell ambushed Winfrey in New York City, she said that she didn't immediately recognize him but was willing to make contact. Even though she already knew he had gone to the tabloids, she didn't know the ambush was a setup.
Throughout Winfrey's career, she's helped a lot of people and even started a school for girls in 2007. Winfrey said the Leadership Academy for Girls was created in part as a result of her experience with Mitchell, because she realized that one has to spend "enough time with them to change the way they think about what their life can be."
"It isn't enough to give a person a new life or money or a new car; you have to teach them how to fish themselves," Winfrey stated.