Oprah Finds Long Lost Sister Abandoned by Mother Vernita Lee

January 24, 2011 Updated: October 1, 2015

Oprah Winfrey arrives at OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network's 2011 TCA Winter Press Tour Cocktail Party at the Horseshoe Gardens at the Langham Hotel on January 6, 2011 in Pasadena, California.  (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Oprah Winfrey arrives at OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network's 2011 TCA Winter Press Tour Cocktail Party at the Horseshoe Gardens at the Langham Hotel on January 6, 2011 in Pasadena, California. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
Oprah Winfrey said Monday she learned a family truth that “shook me to my core": She has a half-sister named Patricia, whom she never knew about until last Thanksgiving.

On her show on Monday, Winfrey introduced Patricia and the story to her audience with tears.

Patricia was born to Vernita Lee, the same mother as Winfrey, in 1963 when the TV personality was living with her father and had no idea about her mother’s pregnancy.

Before being adopted at age 7, Lee arranged Patricia to live in a number of foster homes until the difficult decision was made as Lee could not afford raising her, according to The Associated Press.

Winfrey’s reaction was “I’m like, what?” as she heard of the news last year.

In the show, she thanked Patricia who kept the secret and never thought of selling the news.

“Since I have been a person known in the public, there have been few times have I have been anywhere and not been sold out,” Winfrey said.

“They [Patricia’s family] have known the secret since 2007. She never once thought to go to the press. She never once thought to sell the story,” added Winfrey in the show.