A look inside the unique relationship of Oprah Winfrey and her partner of 32 years Stedman Graham, who's said she'd make a great president for years

Pool/Getty ImagesStedman Graham sparked speculation when he suggested his longtime partner Oprah Winfrey might run for president.

• Oprah Winfrey began dating Stedman Graham in 1986, the same year her namesake show launched.

• Winfrey and Graham got engaged in 1992, but ultimately decided against marriage.

• Graham’s suggestion that Winfrey run for president at the 2018 Golden Globes isn’t the first time he’s encouraged her to enter the realm of politics.

Interest in media mogul Oprah Winfrey’s hypothetical 2020 presidential run is surging.

Even US President Donald Trump has weighed in. While Trump asserted he’d beat Winfrey, in past years he said the former queen of daytime talk would be his ideal running mate, Business Insider reported.

Still, Winfrey’s well-received Golden Globes speech, which touched upon the #MeToo movement, the free press, and the importance of combatting injustice, has catapulted her name to the forefront of this early presidential speculation.

And her longtime partner Stedman Graham’s comments to the The Los Angeles Times also helped fuel widespread interest in her political prospects.

Graham, who runs management and marketing consulting firm S. Graham and Associates, has been with Winfrey for 32 years.

Here’s a look inside their relationship:


Harper’s Bazaar reported that the couple first met at a charity event in 1986, the same year The Oprah Winfrey Show launched. They began dating that year.

Brenda Chase / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: Harper’s Bazaar, People


Winfrey told People magazine that some people in her circle questioned her boyfriend’s intentions because of his good looks: “They figured if he looked like that, he either had to be a jerk or want something.”

Manny Ceneta / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: Harper’s Bazaar, People


But that didn’t deter Winfrey. According to People, in the early days of their relationship, Graham would spend weekends at her “lavish condo on Chicago’s Gold Coast,” and even began leaving a toothbrush there.

Rod Rolle / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: People


As her national profile rose, Winfrey’s personal life —  including the question of when she would marry —  became the talk of the tabloids.

Getty Images / Handout

Source: People, Hello, HuffPost


After years of dating, Graham reportedly proposed to Winfrey in the kitchen of their Indiana home in 1992. “I want you to marry me. I think it’s time,” Graham told her, to which Winfrey responded: “Ah, that’s really great,” according to People magazine.

Staff/Getty Images

Source: People


But the wedding never happened. And Winfrey and Graham have since revealed that they intend to keep it that way.

Kris Connor / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: HuffPost


In August 2017, Winfrey told Vogue that after the proposal, the couple talked and decided to postpone marriage. After that, they simply didn’t talk about it again. “What I realised is, I don’t want to be married,” she said.

Getty Images / Stringer

Source: CBS, Vogue


“The only time I brought it up was when I said to Stedman, ‘What would have happened if we had actually gotten married?'” she told Vogue. “And the answer is: ‘We wouldn’t be together.’ We would not have stayed together, because marriage requires a different way of being in this world.”

Jason Merritt / TERM / Getty Images

Source: CBS, Vogue


Winfrey went on to tell Vogue that her longtime partner’s “…interpretation of what it means to be a husband and what it would mean for me to be a wife would have been pretty traditional, and I would not have been able to fit into that.”

Michelly Rall / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: CBS, Vogue


Still, that hasn’t stopped speculation over the years. Back in 2016, Winfrey took to Twitter to shoot down one such rumour, writing: “6 people who know me well have called today congratulating me or surprised they weren’t invited to my wedding.IT’S NOT TRUE!!”

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Source: Harper’s Bazaar, Twitter


Back in 2012, Graham spoke with CNN about what it’s like to be one half of such a highly-scrutinised couple, saying he doesn’t base his whole identity off his relationship with Winfrey. “I’m with a very special person who is — she’s just so unbelievable but that has nothing to do with my life. That’s her life. I just support her in her life. And she supports me in my life.”

Timothy Hiatt / Stringer / Getty Images

Source: CNN


This month, Winfrey’s rousing Golden Globes speech prompted whispers that she might run for the White House in 2020. Graham helped to fuel speculation, telling The Los Angeles Times that his longtime partner’s presidential bid would be “… up to the people. She would absolutely do it.”

Source: Newsweek, The Los Angeles Times,Business Insider


Longtime Winfrey confidante Gayle King later said that while Winfrey was “intrigued” by the idea of entering the realm of politics, she currently has no concrete plans to do so.

Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Source: Business Insider


But it’s apparently not the first time Graham has hinted at his political ambitions for his partner. He’s suggested that Winfrey would make an excellent president for decades.

Jason Merritt/TERM/Getty Images

Source: ET


“He’s a very special man in that he’s not the least bit intimidated by me or what I do,” Winfrey said during a 1987 interview on the set of The Oprah Winfrey Show. “He says to me all the time, ‘Look, I want you to be president… you want to president? Run for president, I’ll work the campaign.'”

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Source: ET


The Daily Mail reported that Winfrey has referred to her and Graham as an “old married couple,” at this point. She added that he’s learned to navigate the pressures of fame with her, saying, “That takes a confident man.”

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Source: The Daily Mail


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