Oprah Winfrey has suffered a huge loss this holiday season as her mother, Vernita Lee, has died.
Several sources report that Lee passed away on Thanksgiving Day and Oprah has hit the net with a touching tribute to her mom.
TMZ was first to report the sad news this morning as Winfrey’s niece, Alisha Hayes, confirmed that Vernita Lee died on Thanksgiving Day at the age of 83.
Lee was born in 1935 in segregated Mississippi. She met Vernon Winfrey and they gave birth to Oprah in 1954.
Vernita couldn’t raise Oprah because she moved to Milwaukee where she worked as a housemaid.
Oprah was raised early on by her maternal grandmother. When Oprah turned 6, she moved to Milwaukee to live with her mom … who was a virtual stranger.
Oprah says her relationship with her mom was rocky because of the long separation … “I was asking the question … what is a mother? What are you supposed to feel about your mother?”
Oprah was living with her mom when she was molested by her cousin and abused by an uncle.
Vernita had another child in 1963 and gave her up for adoption. Oprah had not met her half-sister Patricia until 2010 and said she was shocked to learn about her long-lost sibling. Oprah paid for her college education.
The relationship between Oprah and her mom was eventually repaired and the talk show host even invited Vernita Lee on her talk show in 1990 and O’s personal stylist gave her a makeover.
There are reports Vernita retired from a hospital dietitian job sometime after she reconnected with O, moved into a luxury condo in Milwaukee and got a stipend from her famous daughter of $5k a month.
The family of Vernita Lee are saddened to share of her passing on November 22, 2018 at her home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
She was 83 years old. Born May 2, 1935, she is survived by her daughters Oprah Winfrey and Patricia Amanda Faye Lee, grandchildren Alisha Hayes, Chrishaunda Lee Perez, Aquarius Lofton and Andre Brown and great grandchildren Jaxon Praise Perez, Chai Theresa Perez, Donovan Hayes and Trinity Hayes.
She was predeceased by son Jeffrey Lee (1960-1989) and daughter Patricia Lee Lloyd (1959-2003). Private funeral services have been held. Memorial donations in Vernita’s name may be made to Feeding America.
Oprah posted a family photo via social media just moments ago, stating:
Thank you all for your kind words and condolences regarding my mother Vernita Lee’s passing. It gives our family great comfort knowing she lived a good life and is now at Peace.🙏🏾✝️
Condolences to Winfrey and her family on the loss of her mother. Losing a family member is especially tough during the holidays.