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Oprah's big secret: Meet her half-sister Patricia

Meagan Morris is an entertainment and lifestyle journalist living in New York City. In addition to SheKnows, Morris contributes to many publications including The New York Times, Yahoo! News, PopEater, NBC New York and Spinner. Follow he...

Oprah: It was a Beloved moment

Oprah introduced the world to her newly-found half sister, Patricia. How did Patricia figure out that the talk show queen is her sister? Read on for the incredible story.

Oprah revealed her big secret Monday and, like we reported earlier, it was a big one.

Oprah's family secret: she has a half sister

Oprah admitted that she has a half-sister, Patricia -- and she never knew about her until late last year.

On Monday's show, Oprah told the story of how Patricia -- born in 1963 -- was given up for adoption at birth. As an adult, Patricia set out to find out the identity of her parents. She managed to work with an adoption agency who located her adoption information and her birth mother -- but her birth mother didn't want to meet her.

That same day, Patricia watched an interview with Oprah's mother, Vernita Lee, who said she had three children -- two had passed away and the living child was Oprah, born in 1954. All of the information matched, but she didn't know what to do.

"The hair on the back of my neck stood up," Patricia said of the revelation. "I said, 'No, that can't be.'"

This was a few years ago. Eventually, Patricia made her way to the restaurant owned by Oprah's niece. Her mother, also named Patricia, had passed away -- but this Patricia and her mother looked eerily similar, so she believed the woman's story.

Eventually, Oprah's niece and Patricia took a DNA test -- and it proved that they were related.

Oprah's mother finally admitted it was true, and Oprah met her half-sister for the first time over in November 2010 during Thanksgiving dinner in Milwaukee.

Oprah and Patricia were reunited again on Oprah's show -- and the talk show queen thanked Patricia for keeping it a secret when many others would have sold her story to the press.

"It's family business," Patricia said.

For her part, Vernita Lee said she felt guilt for giving her child up for adoption.

"I thought it was a terrible thing that I had done," Lee said, explaining that she wouldn't be able to take care of a fourth child and get off welfare.

"I did think about the baby. I went back looking for her and they told me she had left."

Oprah summed up the revelation nicely, calling it "a Beloved moment," referring to her movie where a daughter comes back from the dead.

It's true, life sometimes imitate art.

How do you feel about Oprah's big secret and her new family?

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