Oprah Winfrey Recalls Being Body-Shamed By Joan Rivers On ‘The Tonight Show’

Oprah Winfrey recalled being publicly body-shamed by Joan Rivers, who made her weight topic No. 1 during Winfrey’s first appearance on “The Tonight Show” in 1985.

On Monday’s episode of the “Jamie Kern Lima Show” podcast, the media mogul recalled how, despite being invited to talk about her then-booming TV show, “A.M. Chicago,” Rivers focused on her appearance instead.

“Joan Rivers turns to me and she says, ‘Tell me, why are you so fat?’” Winfrey recalled to host Lima.

She admitted she was so stunned by having her weight called out “on national television” that she didn’t know “what to do with that.”

“I just [said], like, ‘Oh, I just love potato chips, Joan,’” Winfrey shared, which prompted the late comedian to fire back, “Shame on you.”

Rivers, who died in 2014, then told Winfrey: “I’ll let you come back if you lose 15 lbs. You need to lose 15 lbs.”

Winfrey admitted she had sided with Rivers at the time of the interview, adding, “I accept[ed] that I should be shamed, because how dare me, be sitting up here on ‘The Tonight Show.’”

After vowing to the late “Fashion Police” host that she would shed the weight, she revealed to Lima that she never did. “Of course, I didn’t lose the 15 lbs. I went and ate my way to another 10 lbs,” Winfrey said.

Winfrey’s encounter with Rivers on the “Tonight Show” ultimately led her to enroll in a “health retreat” to slim down, she said. “At the time, they called them ‘fat farms,’” Winfrey shared.

Winfrey then recalled how around the same time, she “cried” and “prayed” because she thought being overweight had made her miss out on a role in the critically acclaimed The Color Purple.”

That was until the film’s director, Steven Spielberg, surprised her with a phone call.

After hearing that she was trying to lose weight, Winfrey claimed to Lima, the filmmaker told her: “You lose a pound, you could lose this part.”

Winfrey went on to star in the film and earn an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Sofia. The moment became her “greatest life lesson,” she said.

“That became my grounding teaching for the rest of my life and career,” Winfrey said. “Do everything you can, work as hard as you can, and then let it go.”

The former “Oprah Winfrey Show” host has been vocal about the discrimination she has faced for her weight over the years.

In December, she confirmed that she’s taking a weight loss drug, but didn’t name which one. Her admission came amid the controversial celebrity trend of taking drugs like Ozempic or Mounjaro as off-label weight loss drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration has not approved Ozempic for weight loss.

In May, Winfrey apologized for actions she said made her a “major contributor” to toxic diet culture.

Slamming her infamous “wagon of fat” moment on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in the late ’80s as one of her biggest regrets, she added, “It sent a message that starving yourself with a liquid diet set a standard for people watching that I nor anybody else could uphold.”