Oprah & Gay Rumors -- Pictures Tell Story

7/18/2006 7:30 PM PDT

Oprah says she's not gay -- period. Winfrey says she felt compelled to proclaim to the world – in the August issue of O Magazine -- that she and longtime best friend Gayle King are not lovers.

Oprah was clearly looking to put out a fire, but it made us wonder: Where did all the smoke come from? Here's a photo and video timeline that may explain how the gay rumors got fueled.

Between 1987 and 2000, Oprah and Stedman Graham seemed inseparable, appearing at countless events and frequently photographed showing plenty of PDA.

As the cameras rolled, Oprah and Stedman rolled on.

 

Then, suddenly, Stedman could have ended up on a milk carton -- there are a scant few pictures of the couple after 2000. But as quickly as Stedman faded from the scene, Gayle King emerged, side-by-side, with O.

And there's more.

The two people closest to Oprah in the world are rarely seen together with the talk show queen. TMZ found only a few photos.

And the story doesn't end here. Stedman has talked openly about how he and Oprah lead their own lives.

Indeed, at event after event -- especially after 2000 -- Oprah often showed up solo, sometimes talking about her close relationship with Gayle.

And right back at you, Oprah. At this year's Tony Awards, Gayle gushed about her famous friend.

Gayle, who is divorced with two sons, helps run O Magazine and the pair are inseparable. When they're not together, they talk multiple times every day.

So that's where the smoke came from and why Oprah chose to put out the fire.




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