AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin
- Oprah Winfrey, known for her media empire and philanthropy, has many famous friends.
- Her best friend of nearly 40 years is Gayle King, host on "CBS This Morning."
- Oprah's other famous pals include Tyler Perry, Ava Duvernay, Barack and Michelle Obama, Meghan Markle, and more.
- Visit INSIDER's homepage for more great stories.
Oprah Winfrey is known for being a media mogul, an Oscar-winning actress, a philanthropist, and one of television's most successful stars. Along her journey of creating a media empire, she's formed friendships with countless famous figures.
From actors to politicians, here is a guide to some of Oprah's celebrity pals.
Gayle King has been Oprah's best friend for decades.
Oprah met "CBS This Morning" host Gayle King in the 1970s when the two were young journalists working at WJZ in Baltimore, Maryland. Although they worked in different departments, the pair said they were instantly drawn to one another.
Their bond was solidified after King stayed with Oprah one night when it was not safe for her to drive home after a snowstorm. Since then, the two have been best friends, supporting each other for decades.
King has appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" many times and she and Oprah even went on a cross-country road trip from California to New York City as part of an epic journey for the series.
In 2006, Oprah recalled the experience in her magazine, saying, "What I know for sure is that if you can survive 11 days in cramped quarters with a friend and come out laughing, your friendship is the real deal. I know ours is."
The pair have been there for each other throughout countless defining moments in their careers. Most recently, Oprah praised Gayle King's poise and professionalism during her explosive interview with R. Kelly after he was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Oprah has been friends with Barack Obama and Michelle Obama since before the 2008 presidential election.
In 2007, Oprah made what seems to be her first political endorsement by supporting then-senator Barack Obama for the 2008 presidential election. In an interview on CNN's "Larry King Live," she said her endorsement was made largely because she knew Barack Obama personally and truly believed in him.
Barack Obama would go on to serve two terms as president and the friendship between Oprah and the Obama family would grow via presidential campaign fundraisers, invites to exclusive events, and appearances on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
In 2013, Barack Obama went on to present Oprah with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the US's highest honor for a civilian.
She also recently gave the Obamas advice regarding their recent deal with Netflix. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Oprah said she looks forward to the Obamas' content and spoke of her longtime friends, saying, "There's nobody like them. Nobody."
Deepak Chopra has been friends with Oprah since the early '90s.
Amy Sussman /AP Images for Seventh Generation
Author and public speaker Deepak Chopra made his first appearance on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in the early '90s. Oprah's support of his mind-body-spirit connection philosophies helped Chopra rise to fame and brought many New-Age ideas to the general public.
In the years following that first appearance, Oprah has been a very public supporter of Chopra's work, once calling him "one of the great thought leaders of our time."
She has also collaborated with him often. The pair most notably teamed up to bring mindfulness and meditation to the masses through their free, online meditation program called the "Oprah & Deepak 21-Day Meditation Experience."
Tyler Perry and Oprah are friends who've done business together.
Chris Pizzello /AP
In a 2010 interview for O magazine, Oprah said she had been friends with the director, actor and media mogul Tyler Perry for many years because each of them had "been on a journey that can only be called a miracle."
In 2012, Perry signed an exclusive deal with Oprah's OWN network to produce several shows. His programs ("The Haves and the Have Nots," "If Loving You is Wrong," "Love Thy Neighbor," and more) broke records for the network.
In 2017, per The New York Times, it was announced that Perry's deal with OWN would come to an end in 2019, as the mogul had agreed to a deal with Viacom to produce exclusive content, primarily BET-focused, from 2019 to 2024.
The end of the Perry-OWN era prompted some reports that Oprah and Perry's friendship was on the rocks, but these were quickly dispelled by Oprah's pal Gayle King in an Instagram post.
It seems that Oprah's friendship with Perry is still going strong. In 2018, Oprah said that Perry had gifted her a brand new Bentley "for no occasion." Plus, earlier this year Perry was honored at the WACO's Wearable Art Gala, which was aired on OWN.
Oprah has said she considered Maya Angelou to be her mentor and friend.
AP/Charles Rex Arbogast
Oprah had been friends with poet, author, and scholar Maya Angelou since she was in her 20s. Angelou appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" many times and on OWN's "Super Soul Sunday" twice. Oprah has often described Angelou as her mentor, mother-sister, and friend.
When Angelou died in 2014, Oprah took to social media to honor her dear friend by writing on Instagram, "She was there for me always, guiding me through some of the most important years of my life ... I loved her and I know she loved me. I will profoundly miss her. She will always be the rainbow in my clouds."
Recently, on what would have been Angelou's 91st birthday, Oprah posted a touching photo and poem tribute, honoring their "mother-sister-friendship."
Oprah said she "manifested" her friendship with Ava DuVernay.
Matt Sayles/Invision for Lindt Chocolate/AP Images)
In 2013, during her "A Wrinkle in Time" press tour, Oprah told news outlets that she was drawn to the film's director Ava DuVernay's "warm, inviting presence" and that she wanted to become DuVernay's friend.
Oprah said she did so by inviting DuVernay and her mother to a special Mother's-Day event.
"I thought, 'If she could bring her mother, maybe she'd be my friend.' So, I had an event at my house created just so I could meet her, so I could manifest that [friendship] for myself," Oprah said, per The Grio. The rest is history.
Since then, the pair have collaborated on multiple projects, including DuVernay's films "Selma" and "A Wrinkle in Time" and her OWN-produced show "Queen Sugar."
Most recently, Oprah hosted a special Netflix event for DuVernay's drama miniseries "When They See Us."
Oprah and Iyanla Vanzant's friendship was once on hiatus due to a misunderstanding.
Author and inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" a number of times in the late '90s. After multiple appearances, Vanzant approached Winfrey's team to see if the talk-show host would help her develop her own TV series.
In 2018, Vanzant said when she did this she "violated some protocols in the industry" that she just didn't know about. Ultimately, she went on to produce her show with ABC and it later got canceled.
Oprah and Vanzant said they didn't speak for about 11 years after the event. Eventually, the women had a public conversation about the incident on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" during the show's final season. During the chat, the pair realized that the entire event was a miscommunication.
The two reconciled after the discussion and rekindled their friendship. OWN would go on to produce Vanzant's show "Iyanla: Fix My Life" and the two would talk positively about their tumultuous journey together on "Super Soul Sunday."
Julia Roberts has appeared on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" many times.
Actress and "The Oprah Winfrey Show" all-star Julia Roberts has maintained a strong relationship with Oprah throughout the years.
In addition to appearing on Oprah's talk show over 20 times, she has been interviewed for O magazine and she appeared on the final season of "The Oprah Winfrey Show." She's also made many public comments about her friendship with Winfrey.
In a 2011 interview with "Extra," Roberts said of Oprah, "I've made a lifelong friend in that woman. I think she's one of the highlights of humankind. I'm lucky that she's my pal."
When the two actresses were competing in the same category at the SAG Awards in 2013, Roberts told E! that their friendship wouldn't be affected by being up for the same award.
And it doesn't seem that it was — in 2018, Oprah interviewed Roberts for Harper's Bazaar shortly after Roberts' 50th birthday.
Oprah attended the wedding of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.
In April, Oprah announced a partnership with Prince Harry to produce a series based on mental health for Apple TV+, per Deadline.
Earlier this year Oprah also defended Markle regarding how scrutinized she is by the press during an interview with Gayle King on "CBS This Morning."
"I think she's being portrayed unfairly," Oprah said. "I feel that if people really knew her, they would know that she is not only everything that we perceive her as being — graceful and dynamic and holding that position — but she just has a wonderful, warm, giving, loving heart,"
Beyoncé has known Oprah for years.
AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
Back in 2001, Beyoncé made her debut on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" alongside fellow Destiny's Child members Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland. She appeared on the show again in 2003 after the release of her first solo album, "Dangerously in Love."
Beyoncé would continue to appear on Oprah's talk show throughout its run, even surprising her for the series' final week to perform an unforgettable rendition of "Run the World (Girls)" in honor of her friend.
In 2013, she would also discuss her documentary, "Beyoncé: Life Is But a Dream," and her personal life on "Oprah's Next Chapter."
In 2017, following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, Oprah and Beyoncé joined forces alongside many other stars to raise money for disaster-relief efforts on the television special, "Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Harvey Relief."
Earlier this year, Beyoncé posted a special Instagram photo to wish her friend a happy 65th birthday.
Oprah and Dr. Phil have been pals for nearly 20 years.
AP Photo/Evan Agostini
In 2002, shortly after appearing on a weekly segment on Oprah's show, he began hosting his own series — "Dr. Phil." He and Oprah are still pals today and the two have worked together many times since.
"We talk to and see each other on a regular basis. Oprah is one of our dearest friends, and someone both [my wife, Robin McGraw], and I treasure because we can be totally candid with her," McGraw told Closer Weekly in 2018.
Plus, McGraw still sometimes appears on Oprah's "Super Soul Sunday."