Kitty Kelley, the celebrity biographer who's spilled secrets on Frank Sinatra and George W. Bush, has unleashed a new tell-all about Oprah Winfrey. Despite Oprah's self-scrutiny habit—one critic calls her "simultaneously secretive and overexposed"—Kelley claims to have unearthed arresting new details. (Oprah's reps have not responded to any of the allegations in Kelley's book.) (Watch Kitty Kelley discuss the book.) Here are some of Kelley's more notable claims:
1. Kelley claims Oprah's mom doesn't have her cell phone number
The tell-all portrays Oprah's family relationships as distant, alleging that the privacy-hungry host forces her mom to schedule conversations in advance through an assistant. Vernon Winfrey, a stepfather figure who reportedly helped raise Oprah, is quoted as saying: "She may be admired by the world, but I know the truth."
2. Kelley says Oprah is 'asexual'
Kelley throws cold water on speculation that Oprah and her best friend Gayle King are lovers, saying she discovered "no foundation" for it. Kelley told USA Today she thinks Oprah is "asexual."
3. She had an affair with John Tesh
Kelley alleges that Oprah was briefly involved with New Age musician and former Entertainment Tonight host John Tesh in the 1970s, but that Tesh "couldn't handle being in an interracial relationship." Tesh has since confirmed an affair, but said no more.
4. Her employees call her ... Mary?
Kelley alleges that Oprah makes each of her employees sign a confidentiality agreement requiring them to refer to her in public as "Mary," in case strangers are eavesdropping. Kelley further alleges that Gayle King calls Oprah by the affectionate nickname, "Negro," while Oprah calls King "Blackie."
5. Oprah's family questions her 'molestation' claims
Kelley says relatives doubt Oprah's admission that she was "continually molested" between the ages of 9 and 14. Kelley quotes Winfrey's cousin Katharine Esters saying, "No one in the family believes her stories [of sexual abuse], but now that she's so rich and powerful everyone is afraid to contradict her." The New Yorker notes that Esters may bear a grudge that stems from "Oprah's failure to help her publicize a memoir."
6. She has allegedly failed to show restraint in the presence of pecan pies
Though Oprah has recounted her weight problems to her audience, often in meticulous detail, Kelley proudly claims to have uncovered the media mogul's comfort food of choice: "Sour-cream potatoes, Ding Dongs, and fried chicken." Oprah also enjoys pecan pies. Kelley alleges that she once ordered two from a hotel room service and ate both immediately.
7. Oprah is not always low-maintenance
Predictably, Kelley fires off a series of "diva" behavior claims, alleging that Oprah refers to herself in the third person ("Oprah doesn't walk," she is quoted as saying), makes an aide kneel to put on her boots each day, and—when flying—asks employees to pop bags of popcorn to cover the smell of plane fuel, which she hates.
8. Kelley claims to have identified Oprah's biological father
Kelley alleges that one of Oprah's relatives supplied her with the name of Oprah's biological father and related details on July 30, 2007. Kelley says she won't release her findings until Oprah's mother shares them with her daughter, something she's reportedly refused to do.