Oprah, John Tesh Had Love Affair: New Bio

"Social pressure" caused couple to break up in Tennessee in the '70s, book says

By Caitlin Millat
|  Monday, Apr 12, 2010  |  Updated 7:24 AM PDT
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Oprah Winfrey is known for her long-term commitment to partner Steadman Graham -- but before Graham, Winfrey allegedly had an affair with unlikely lover John Tesh, excerpts from a new, explosive bio on Winfrey reveal.

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Oprah Winfrey is known for her long-term commitment to partner Steadman Graham -- but before Graham, Winfrey allegedly had an affair with unlikely lover John Tesh, excerpts from a new, explosive bio on Winfrey reveal.

Winfrey and Tesh, the ex-"Entertainment Tonight" host, shacked up together in Nashville, Tenn., in the 1970s, according to excerpts from biographer Kitty Kelley's new tell-all on Winfrey obtained by the New York Daily News.

Tesh abandoned Winfrey in the middle of the night after caving to "social pressures" that injected tension into their then-controversial interracial relationship, according to the book, written by Kelley, who also penned biographies on Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor.

"He said one night he looked down and saw his white body next to her black body and couldn't take it anymore," a Tesh ex told Kelley in the book, according to the Daily News.

"He walked out in the middle of the night....He told me later he felt very guilty about it," the ex said.

Tesh and Winfrey both worked in Nashville during the mid-1970s, when the future talk-show host and creator of her own empire cut her teeth at WTVF-TV and Tesh, now married to actress Connie Sellecca, anchored the news at WSM.

Winfrey in 1996 referenced a casual date she and Tesh shared while having Tesh on her show to celebrate the program's 10th anniversary, Kelley points out in the book, due for release Tuesday.

Winfrey's spokeswoman said the star would not be commenting on the book, while Tesh's camp did not return calls for comment to the Daily News.

Kelley's book is already on the best-selling list on Amazon.com.

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