He’s expected to admit (more or less) to having lied about using performance-enhancing drugs, an admission that will further tarnish his reputation as the world’s fastest man on two wheels in the world, who became an inspiration to many after winning his battle with cancer.
For better or worse, he decided that this was the right time to do the interview – another notch in Winfrey’s belt. But, can he break our list of Winfrey’s most groundbreaking interviews of all time? It would be a tough feat.
Take a look at my picks below and you tell us.
1. Tom Cruise is crazy in love. Where do I start? This interview birthed so many uh-mazing animated gifs. Cruise’s leap onto Winfrey’s couch (showed us his crazy); his repeated expression of affection for Katie Holmes, “I’m in love, I’m in love” (especially in light of what we know now about their relationship) and the constant laughing (yep, he’s an actor).
2. Tyler Perry admits to being beaten and sexually abused as a child. This was powerful stuff from the guy who rolls movies out as if they were on a conveyor belt. The media giant not only announced that he had suffered abuse from his father and multiple adults, and later the show also filled its audience entirely with men who had similar stories to tell.
3. Iyanla Vanzant: “There’s some crazy that a pill can’t fix.” Oh, now this was an event. I know you all like celebrity feuds, I see the traffic on any article about one. And this was a doozie. One of the show’s former weekly guest hosts, Vanzant claims Winfrey reneged on an offer for her own talk show. The relationship really fell apart when Vanzant went into talks with Barbara Waltersfor a show, then used that as leverage against the media mogul. And, “O” don’t play that game.
4. Sarah Ferguson begs for forgiveness after bribery scandal. The Duchess of York appeared on the show right after being caught accepting a bribe from an undercover reporter in exchange for access to her ex-husband, Prince Andrew. It was a new low for Ferguson and Winfrey took the drill to her.
5. Barack Obama appearance throws Oprah for a loop. Clearly, the POTUS’ appearance on the show was to be expected: Some people believe Winfrey’s support helped get him elected. But, that doesn’t mean that he would give her a heads up that Osama bin Laden was about to be hunted down and assassinated. But for Winfrey, that meant her pre-taped interview with Obama was instantly dated. And Winfrey hates to lose a scoop.
6. Michael Jackson gives Oprah a tour of the bizarre Neverland Ranch. The famously media-shy King of Pop opened the doors to his menagerie of a property to Winfrey. He denied some of the stranger reports about him and offered an explanation to his obvious changes in appearance: Plastic surgery (duh!) and a disease called vitiligo explained his very pale skin (hm…).
7. Whitney Houston: Don’t call it a comeback. Noticeably different from the talented young singer we remembered, the now deceased Houston broke her seven-year stretch of turning down interviews to appear with Oprah in 2009. She was very candid about the things we already in our gut knew about her: She was abusing drugs, her marriage to Bobby Brownwas toxic and her vocal chords weren’t in good shape. It shouldn’t have been that shocking, but it was.
8. Rihanna breaks down over Chris Brown. A recent addition to the list, the pop singer hadn’t talked about the notorious beat down by then boyfriend, Brown, very much. If anything, it showed that she wasn’t quite over him and really seemed confused about those feelings. Their PDAs are all over the place now, but that interview probably prepared us for the romantic reconciliation.
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9. Mackenzie Phillips admits to incestuous relationship with her dad. Phillips’ confessions to a long-term sexual relationship with her father, Mamas & the Papas member John Phillips, were explosive. It started with a drug-fueled rape at age 19, moved into his offer to run away with her and then ended 10 years later with a pregnancy and abortion. Ay yi yi.
10. Oprah introduces her half-sister. This makes my list for almost the same reason Obama and Vanzant’s appearances did: Because it sheds light on Winfrey herself. Faced with the threat of having the secret of her half-sister revealed first in an unauthorized biography, Winfrey introduced the world to Patricia, the half-sister she only discovered herself in October 2010.
Oprah and Lance Armstrong: The Worldwide Exclusive airs Thursday and Friday at 9PM on OWN.
Will Lance Armstrong be added to future lists of Winfrey’s all-time greatest interviews? What are your favorite Oprah interviews?