Lee later moved to Milwaukee and Oprah, then 6, moved to live with her mother. File picture: Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP.
Oprah Winfrey mourned the loss of her mother, Veronita Lee, who died on Thanksgiving Day. A representative for Winfrey told People magazine that a private funeral was held for Lee over the weekend. No other details were provided.
Vernita Lee, born in 1935 in segregated MS, met Vernon Winfrey, Oprah's father, and gave birth to the television personality in 1954. She was 83 years old, ' the statement read.
Oprah had Vernita on her talk show in 1990. She had two other children, Jeffrey and Patricia, who died before her.
Memorial donations can be made in Vernita's name to Feeding America.
Winfrey has always been outspoken about the tumultuous relationship she had with her mother when she was young.
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Oprah's father, Vernon Lee, reportedly only had one encounter with Lee before she gave birth to their daughter.
Due to a number of reasons, Vernita wasn't able to raise Oprah for the first six years of her life.
"I loved her the way that she loves people now", she said, adding that her proudest moment was in 1985 when Winfrey "did the Color Purple". I don't know anybody.
"I walked into that space feeling completely alone and abandoned". She has not been active on social media since.
"I remember praying on my knees the very first night I had been removed from my grandmother", she told HuffPost. "To my mother, I say, 'You can let this shame go'".
The talk show host posted two videos on her Instagram page from Thanksgiving.