Oprah Opens Up About Famous Whitney Interview
Talk-show legend tells Andy Cohen how she pulled off her most memorable conversations.
Last night, the Oprahcaplyse finally came to Watch What Happens Live as the talk-show host who has most inspired Andy Cohen—Oprah Winfrey—arrived at the Clubhouse to talk about her own magnificent career in broadcasting.
Winfrey has sat across from the world's most important cultural and political figures over the course of herastonishing career. But one of her most memorable interviews came in 2009, when embattled diva Whitney Houston opened up about her troubled relationship with Bobby Brown and her struggles with substance abuse. But one viewer wanted to know: Does Winfrey feel like she went too easy on the pop star?
"Oh no, I don't," Winfrey says. "You know why? Because I do the same thing with all important interviews. I did this the other day with Lindsay Lohan. Before I sit down with them, I have a little private moment, and I say to them, 'What do you want to get out of this interview?'
"I am the facilitator," she continues, "so I say, 'Whitney, tell me what it is you want?' And she said, 'I just want people to know the truth… I want people to know the real me.' I go, 'Okay, I can help you do that.'"
Winfrey's candid answer led Cohen to ask about another famously troubled pop superstar: Did she know more about Michael Jackson than she led on in public?
"It's none of my business," Winfrey says. "It's their business to reveal whatever they want to reveal."
She went on to explain how she establishes such a strong rapport with her subjects. "If I'm in an interview with somebody and I think that they have said somethingthat they really didn't want to reveal, I'll try to help them out. It's a dance we have here. Earning people's trust is letting them know that I'm not out to get them."
Ultimately, in the case of the King of Pop, "I didn't know anymore than anybody else did," she says. "I had my own thoughts about what was going on, but what I try to do in an interview — as I know you do — is you try to leave those thoughts and you come there with an open mind."
Watch Oprah Winfrey open up about Whitney Houston and her interview techniques and tell us in the comments: Would you have pushed Whitney harder during the interview?