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Gossip & Rumors: Joan Rivers Body Shamed Oprah Winfrey On Tv:

GOSSIP & RUMORS: Joan Rivers body-shamed Oprah Winfrey on TV: Why are you fat?

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Oprah Winfrey is shedding light on her first appearance on “The Tonight Show,” and how then-host Joan Rivers commented about her weight.

While being a guest star on “The Jamie Kern Lime Show” podcast, Winfrey, 70, told Lime that she appeared on “The Tonight Show” in 1985 to discuss her successful TV show, “A.M. Chicago,” but instead the conversation shifted towards her body size.

“Joan Rivers turned to me and she says ‘Tell me, why are you so fat?’” the former broadcast journalist told Lime, the founder of IT Cosmetics.

Oprah Winfrey spoke to Jamie Kern Lime about her appearance on “The Tonight Show” in 1985.
Jamie Kern Lima/YouTube

Winfrey replied: “Oh, I just love potato chips Joan.”

Rivers, who died in 2014 due to brain damage from lack of oxygen, told the former TV host “shame on you.”

She added to Winfrey: “I’ll let you come back if you lose 15 lbs. You need to lose 15 lbs.’”

Winfrey emphasized that this was “On national television. And I don’t know what to do with that.”

During the interview with Lime, Winfrey said she had agreed with Rivers.

Then-host Joan Rivers made comments about Winfrey’s body during her first appearance on the late-night show.
NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

“And I accept it. I accept that I should be shamed, because how dare me, be sitting up here on ‘The Tonight Show,’” she went on.

Winfrey said that she and the late “Fashion Police” host “agreed that I was gonna go away and lose 15 lbs. And of course, I didn’t lose the 15 lbs. I went and ate my way to another 10 lbs.”

The “Color Purple” star would later go on a “health retreat” to lose weight, which were called “fat farms” at the time.

“Joan Rivers turned to me and she says ‘Tell me, why are you so fat?’” the Winfrey said. NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Winfrey initially thought she lost her role in “The Color Purple” due to her weight. After letting go of the dream of acting in the movie, she got a life-changing phone call.

Director Steven Spielberg heard that she was at a “fat farm” and told her: “You lose a pound, you could lose this part.”

Winfrey told Lime that her call with Spielberg was a full-circle moment.

Winfrey’s role as Sophia in “The Color Purple” earned her an Academy Award nomination.
Getty Images

“The instant I let go was the greatest life lesson I have ever received because I physically felt the release,” she said. “The second I did that it changed.”

Winfrey landed the role of Sophia in the 1985 drama, a movie adaptation of the same-title book, written by Alice Walker. The role earned Winfrey an Oscar nomination.

“That became my grounding teaching for the rest of my life and career,” she shared. “Do everything you can, work as hard as you can, and then let it go.”

Over the years, Winfrey has used other weight loss methods, including Weight Watchers.

“The Butler” star served on the board since 2015, when she acquired a 10% stake in the company, and became an ambassador in 2017.

Earlier this year, she resigned to avoid a conflict of interest ahead of her special, “An Oprah Special: Shame, Blame and the Weight Loss Revolution.”

“And I accept it. I accept that I should be shamed, because how dare me, be sitting up here on The Tonight Show,” Winfrey said during the interview. Jamie Kern Lima/YouTube

“I decided [to leave the WeightWatchers board] because this special was really important to me, and I wanted to be able to talk about whatever I want to talk about,” she explained on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” in March. “And WeightWatchers is now in the business of being a weight-health company that also administers drug medications for weight. I did not want to have the appearance of any conflict of interest.”

When she resigned she donated all of her shares to the National Museum of African American History. 

Winfrey’s TV special aired that same month amid reports she was using weight loss medication.

Winfrey later went on to say that she went to a “health retreat,” to lose weight, which she explained “at the time, they called them ‘fat farms’.” Jamie Kern Lima/YouTube

Though she never specified which drug she used, the TV personality admitted to using it after knee surgery in 2021.

“The fact that there’s a medically approved prescription for managing weight and staying healthier, in my lifetime, feels like relief, like redemption, like a gift,” she told People in December 2023.

“After knee surgery, I started hiking and setting new distance goals each week. I could eventually hike three to five miles every day and a 10-mile straight-up hike on weekends,” she added. “I felt stronger, more fit and more alive than I’d felt in years.”



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