Oprah Winfrey has revealed the name of the son she lost aged 14.
The TV host, who opened up about her turbulent childhood during a talk with 12,000 fans in Melbourne’s Rod Laver arena, admitted she named her child who died after he was born prematurely.
“I did an interview with a reporter before I came to Australia and she said you should name the baby son who died,” the media proprietor told the audience. “So I have named him, I had a little boy named Canaan,” she said without specifying the spelling. Of why Oprah picked that name, she explained, “I named him Canaan because Canaan means new land, new life.”
Oprah then talked about the sexual abuse done by her own family members. “I was raped at nine years old by a cousin, then again by another family member, and another family member,” she revealed, adding that she tried to hide her growing baby bump because she felt so much “pain and shame.”
News about her loss first broke in 1990 when a family member made it public. She wrote in the February 2007 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, “I took to my bed and cried for three days. I felt devastated. Wounded. Betrayed. How could this person do this to me?”
At that time, Oprah was really worried that the revelation would damage her career. “I imagined that every person on the street was going to point their finger at me and scream, ‘Pregnant at 14, you wicked girl … expelled!’ ” Oprah explained.
Nevertheless, the 61-year-old media mogul admitted that once the story was out, she felt relieved. “And I soon realized that having the secret out was liberating,” she wrote in the magazine. “What I learned for sure was that holding the shame was the greatest burden of all.”