John Tesh Confirms: Oprah and I "Dated"

Celebrity News Apr. 12, 2010 AT 10:22AM
John Tesh Confirms: Oprah and I "Dated" Credit: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.com; Steve Granitz/WireImage.com

Long before she was a billionaire media mogul romantically linked to Stedman Graham, young Oprah Winfrey reportedly had a different boyfriend: John Tesh.

In a new, unauthorized Winfrey tell-all, celebrity biographer Kitty Kelley claims that Winfrey and the one-time Entertainment Tonight co-host were lovers who shared an apartment in Nashville, Tenn. in the mid-1970s.

According to New York's Daily News, an excerpt from the book reveals that Tesh, now 57, abandoned Winfrey, now 56, because of the intense "social pressure" of their interracial romance.

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"[He] couldn't take it anymore...He walked out in the middle of the night...he told me he later felt very guilty about it," a Tesh source told Kelley in the book.

Update: Tesh, now a New Age musician and syndicated radio host, confirmed to Entertainment Tonight on Monday: "Oprah and I were cub reporters in Nashville nearly 40 years ago and we dated for a short time. We even talked about it during one of my appearances on her show. We remain friends to this day."

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What about Stedman? One source tells Kelley that the businessman, 59, is "nice enough but boring as hell. So boring."

Another topic explored in Kelley's book: speculation about Winfrey's relationship with friend Gayle King.

"I know people are expecting me to 'out' her," Kelley tells USA Today. "But I think she's just asexual. She's poured all of her energies into her career. And if she is, she is never, ever going to come out. So relax, people."

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Kelley also interviewed Winfrey's family members in Kosciusko, Miss.; some relatives do not believe Winfrey's claims that she was sexually abused as a child, she writes.

"I don't believe a bit of it," cousin Katherine Esters told Kelley. "No in the family believes her stories (of sexual abuse) but now that she's so rich and powerful everyone is afraid to contradict her."

A spokesperson for Winfrey said that the talk show host "hasn't participated in or read Kitty Kelley's book, so she is unable to comment."

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