It was Oprah Winfrey’s 57th birthday that turned out to be the most significant.
That’s because the talk show icon never expected to live past the age of 56. In this week’s issue of PEOPLE, the mogul and philanthropist opens up about the childhood dream that gripped her despite her success.
“I used to have this dream that I was going to be dead at 56, so the year that I turned 56 I was filled with dread,” Winfrey says. “I had only told one other person that I had a number in my head when I was going to die, and that was Gayle [King, her best friend].
Gayle said, ‘What’s the number?’ I said, ‘I’m not going to tell you, because you will drive me crazy and then I will end up dead.’”
“When I got to 57, it was like, ‘Why did all my life I think it was going to be 56?’” she says. “At the time I started having this vision of 56, it was when I was in Milwaukee and I was trapped in a world where I could see how dire it was.”
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She’s been a cultural force for more than 30 years, so it might seem like Oprah Winfrey was always destined for greatness. But her incredible journey was more a winding road than a straight shot. ❤️ In the new issue, PEOPLE salutes extraordinary #WomenChangingTheWorld — including Winfrey — whose work has inspired millions. Tap the bio link for more on the pivotal moments that changed her life. ✨ | 📷: @ruvenafanador
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