She was eventually sent to live in Nashville with Vernon Winfrey, who was her mother's former lover and who is listed on her birth certificate as her father.
He has been described as the domineering disciplinarian who set her straight.
* Winfrey sold her body to earn extra money and has even described herself as a teen "prostitute." * She doesn't know the true identity of her biological father.
"I thought I would be working for the warm and fuzzy person I saw on television," a former employee at Winfrey's Harpo production company said. Oprah allegedly does not know the true identity of her father.
Esters told Kelley who he is, on the condition she not publish the information until Winfrey's mother comes clean to her daughter.
* She went to great lengths to conceal her "lesbian affairs" -- including hefty payoffs -- and publicly attached herself to Graham to appear more normal to her audience of housewives.
* She lavished romantic gifts -- including a diamond toe ring -- on ABC talking head Diane Sawyer.
Oprah Winfrey -- who built a billion-dollar empire persuading everyone from celebs to average Joes to reveal the truth about themselves -- is a big phony when it comes to her own past, an explosive new book charges.
Winfrey's relationship with longtime "love" Stedman Graham, her reputed dirt-poor upbringing in rural Mississippi, her rumored lesbian crushes on women such as Diane Sawyer -- all are stories she has manipulated for decades in the name of sensational ratings, according to writer Kitty Kelley's latest unauthorized biography "Oprah." The much-anticipated book details how: * Winfrey concocted stories about sexual abuse she suffered as a child -- and grossly exaggerated the poverty she was brought up in.At one point, the rumors included seamy talk at ABC about a relationship between Winfrey and Sawyer when Oprah worked there.Employees there described "giggly late-night phone calls" and a series of lavish gifts from Winfrey -- including gigantic sprays of orchids and a 1-carat diamond toe ring -- to Sawyer."It's no big deal to have a brother who is homosexual, but apparently it was to Oprah.Tim also said he knew about some lesbian affairs." As for Winfrey's very public relationship with Graham, the pair do not even share a bedroom, according to the book. She did reportedly have one affair with a man -- "Entertainment Tonight's" John Tesh, while the two were working in Nashville.Winfrey was born in Kosciusko, Miss., in 1954, and, the way she likes to tell it, she was so impoverished that she never had any new dresses or dolls and had to adopt two cockroaches as pets, naming them Melinda and Sandy. She may not have been well off, but Oprah was relatively "spoiled" as a little girl, her cousin said.