Oprah Winfrey Says She Only Has 3 Close Pals: 'I Don't Have a Lot of Friends'

Until recently, Oprah Winfrey hadn't "expanded" her close circle of friends outside of Maria Shriver, Gayle King and Bob Greene

Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey. Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images

Oprah Winfrey prefers to keep her inner circle small.

During an appearance on the Making Space with Hoda Kotb podcast Monday, Winfrey, 67, and longtime pal Maria Shriver opened up about their 42 years of friendship. According to Winfrey, was a "spiritual connection" between them from the moment they met.

"I first met her in the bathroom [while working at] WJZ-TV early in the morning. I was coming in to do the morning cut-ins and she was doing evening magazine and had been up all night. [She] was in the bathroom, literally, splashing water on her face, and we started a conversation," Winfrey told Hoda Kotb. "I forever think that that was, like, a divine moment that happened because she was one of my true, grounded friendships that carried me through my entire career."

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Winfrey admitted that she doesn't have many close friendships outside of Shriver.

"I don't have a lot of friends," the former talk show host said. "Everybody knows Gayle [King]. There's Gayle, there's Maria, there's Bob [Greene]. And that's about it, you know? Gayle and Maria, I met around the same time; Gayle and I [have been friends for] 42 years, Maria and I [have also been friends for] 42 years."

"I never really expanded that circle until recently," she continued. "You know, I had become friends with a couple of people in my later adult life in the past five years."

<a href="https://people.com/tag/oprah-winfrey/" data-inlink="true">Oprah Winfrey</a>, Maria Shriver
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Shriver, 65, described her bond with Winfrey as, "deep, simple, low-maintenance, trustful, loyal, constant, consistent, honest, tried and true."

For Shriver, Winfrey's simple gestures for her over the years — including bringing her cups of coffee — have helped to strengthen their friendship.

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"It was so moving to me because ... that's not how I grew up, you know? Nobody brought a cup of coffee or a cup of water to me," Shriver said. "In a funny way, even though I had a very close relationship with my mother, I wasn't nurtured, mothered in that way, right? And [Oprah] wasn't mothered in her own way. But I think, in a way, we have mothered each other."

In the past, Greene, a personal trainer, has helped Winfrey in her wellness journey and has made appearances on her former talk show.

"Bob Greene was the answer to my prayers," Winfrey wrote in the foreword of Greene's 2008 book, The Best Life Diet. "When I first met Bob at that last-ditch-effort spa in Colorado, I thought for sure he was judging and labeling me as I had already judged and labeled myself — fat and out of control. Bob, it turned out, wasn't judging me at all. He really understood."

Winfrey added that "working with Bob has been priceless therapy."

Gayle King, <a href="https://people.com/tag/oprah-winfrey/" data-inlink="true">Oprah Winfrey</a>
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Winfrey's friendship with King, 66, is no secret. In July, Winfrey opened up about the key to their long-lasting bond.

"Surround yourself with someone who is as happy for your happiness as you are for your happiness," Winfrey said in an Oprah Daily video. "You need friends that are happy in their own lives so that they can actually be authentically happy for you."

New episodes of Making Space with Hoda Kotb are released on Mondays.

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