The Story of Oprah Winfrey and Her “Rock” Stedman Graham, the Other Great Love of Her Life

Yet their bond has only strengthened over the years, with Graham by her side during the crowning moments of her career, such as when she received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the Oscars in 1998, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama in 2013, or when the HFPA honored her with the Cecil B. DeMille Award three days ago.

At the “Oprah Winfrey Surprise Spectacular,” held at Chicago’s United Center before she signed off from her eponymous talk show and attended by the likes of Jerry Seinfeld, Michael Jordan, Stevie WonderMadonnaand Tom Hanks, Graham took the stage to tell her, “You are so special. I’m so proud of you.”

“It really amazes me that I got to be around a woman who changes people’s lives every day and who also takes her own lunch to work,” he continued. “I can’t believe that a colored girl from the backwoods of Mississippi has done all that you have done. But what is really amazing is that you have done this [he motioned around him] through God’s amazing grace. I love you for making the difference in my life.”