Amid calls for her to consider a run for the White House — from fans as well as her closest friends — “I went into prayer,” she tells PEOPLE in the magazine’s new cover story. “ ‘God, if you think I’m supposed to run, you gotta tell me, and it has to be so clear that not even I can miss it.’ And I haven’t gotten that.”
The media mogul and star of the new movie A Wrinkle in Time found herself in the political spotlight after her inspiring speech at the 2018 Golden Globes while accepting the Cecil B. DeMille Award. Winfrey had the crowd of Hollywood’s biggest stars on their feet and in tears with her moving words and promise that “a new day is dawning.” She was surprised to hear the immediate response the rest of the country had.
“When I walked off with Reese [Witherspoon], I thought, ‘I got that done,’ ” she says. “It wasn’t until I was back in the press room that they said, ‘Do you realize you’re trending?’ ”
Winfrey says her best friend Gayle King urged her to take the possibility seriously and peppered her with messages of support from others who would back her.
Watch People Cover Story: Oprah Winfrey, available now, on PeopleTV. Go to PeopleTV.com, or download the PeopleTV app on your favorite mobile or connected TV device. And look for PEOPLE’s new special edition, The Complete Guide to ‘A Wrinkle in Time,’ with exclusive photos and interviews with all the stars, available March 2 wherever magazines are sold.
“I had people—wealthy, billionaires—calling me up and saying, ‘I can get you a billion dollars. I can run your campaign,”‘ she reveals. “That many people saying something made me think, ‘Am I at least supposed to look at the question?’ ”
In the issue, the mogul opens up about working with Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling and young newcomer Storm Reid on the highly anticipated A Wrinkle in Time and her emotional decision to finally say #MeToo and talk about her experience with sexual abuse.
Winfrey also says she had no regrets about not raising children with longtime partner Stedman Graham, saying instead that the South African girls she helps through her Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls have been “enough.”
“It was just the right combination of mentor, mother, leader, guide. Just to see all of them blossom into these flourishing human beings,” Winfrey says. “They delight me. Make me laugh a lot. They have surprised me in ways that have brought wonder and great joy.”
Now in her 60s, and after decades of being a comfort to millions all around the world, Winfrey still says making people happy is what she loves most.
“Nothing makes me happier than to see other people in their purest moments of joy,” she admits. “Sometimes, honest to goodness, I’m just sitting around thinking, “What could I do to make somebody feel really good today?”