*RadarOnline.com has posted an interview with Haitian filmmaker Reginald Chevalier, who claims he had a four-month live-in relationship with Oprah Winfrey in the mid-eighties and saw first-hand just how close she is with her best friend Gayle King.
“If there was no man in the world for Oprah, I think maybe Gayle would be enough for her — perfect for her. They were made for each other,” the 50-year-old Los Angeles-based producer, who lived with Oprah in her Chicago apartment after meeting on her talk show, told the website. “They were always laughing, telling jokes and every time they saw each other, they were happy.”
While Oprah and Gayle have long dismissed persistent gay rumors, their legendary friendship has often been likened to that of a lesbian relationship. In an interview with Barbara Walters, Oprah, 56, declared: “I am not a lesbian… I’m not even kind of a lesbian.”
Like many, Reginald said he had heard the rumors, but never believed them.
Reginald said he thought: “They’re just good friends and close, a little more than what two sisters would be.”
The former model, who even appeared in magazine ads alongside Oprah’s future lover Stedman Graham, was one of the precious few to ever get a close-up look at the media titan’s private life.
“I don’t know if it was ever a huge priority for her to have a man in her life, but she didn’t want to be alone, you know what I mean… she needs someone close to her all the time,” Reginald said.
He described Oprah and Gayle’s relationship as “normal” even though they talked up to three times each day, he said.
“It’s almost like they were teenagers,” Reginald said, and “they played with each other, they talked about everything, they’d tell each other their secrets. That’s because when Oprah wants something or likes someone she shows loyalty to that person.”
As Reginald previously told RadarOnline.com, his relationship with the chat show host ended abruptly when she threw him out while he was away for work.
Branding Oprah “as cold as ice”, he said she dumped him by changing the locks.
“She acted like I was a stranger,” Reginald recalled, remembering a chance encounter not soon after the split, which left him to think, “someone said something about me that wasn’t true.”
“I don’t know if Gayle was the one who told Oprah to leave me… It could have happened,” Reginald told RadarOnline.com.
But, he added, “She was really nice to me.”
“That’s just my opinion though, but I’m sure she says things like, ‘Oprah, this is the reason why’ and I believe Oprah would listen to her,” he said. “Gayle was Oprah’s confidante and every problem she had Gayle would be the first one to know.”
Below, more on Reginald Chevalier from RadarOnline:
Reginald began his short-lived relationship with Oprah when he appeared on her show in 1985, featuring him in a look-alike segment. On the same day, the two began what would be a four-month-long affair. He was 25, and she was 32.
In a twist of fate, Reginald revealed to RadarOnline.com that at the time of his romance with Oprah, he and Stedman were featured in magazine advertisements for a car manufacturer — together!
Not surprisingly, their working relationship soured when a determined Stedman made his intentions clear — he wanted another man’s woman.
Said Reginald: “I remember Stedman used to call, and I would answer the phone and she would tell me, ‘I don’t want to talk to him… I’m not here’.
“I was p*ssed and I told him she wasn’t there. But I wasn’t going to be malicious about it.”
Reginald said he lived with Oprah, now 57, in her Chicago apartment and even attended the local premiere of her film The Color Purple alongside the fledgling star.
But not soon after their love affair began, Reginald noticed how Oprah was starting to become smitten with another man.
Speaking exclusively to RadarOnline.com in his first interview since Oprah’s biographer Kitty Kelly exposed the pair’s tryst, Reginald said he had traced back the demise of the romance to a New Year’s Eve party that Oprah hosted.
“Stedman came with another girl and she was somehow trying to talk to me and every time I turned somewhere, she was there,” he recalled.
“I figured out that Stedman brought the girl in order to distract me from Oprah.
“Every time Oprah would come to talk to me, the other girl was still standing there, giving the appearance that I was tying to pick her up and as if I were the one initiating everything.”
Stedman’s plan — “he knew what the target was” — worked, Reginald added.
Eventually, Oprah locked Reginald out of her home and her life, without even a phone call or in-person goodbye.
She left a short and simple note, which he said read: “It’s not going to work out between us.”
Reginald joked, with a laugh: “Stedman won the battle!”
“I think he tried everything he had to get Oprah,” Reginald recalled, suggesting “I think Oprah did get upset because every time (she came over to talk to me) the other girl would appear.”
With a busy modeling career that kept him traveling interstate, Reginald admitted he wasn’t in a place to settle down.
“I wasn’t really into getting serious,” he said.
However, Oprah did ask Reginald his thoughts on marriage, leaving him convinced that she planned to walk down the aisle at some point.
“If I would have married Oprah, we would have been together still,” he said, “because she’s the kind of woman when she has something she won’t let it go… she’s loyal.”
Twenty six years after Oprah and Reginald had the marriage discussion, the television star is yet to wed Graham.
Although Reginald has fond memories of their time together, including romantic evenings at home, candlelit baths and dinners with Michael Jordan and Danny Glover, he said he was shocked by the way she ended things.
When the pair crossed paths a year after their split, again on Oprah’s set, she gave him the cold shoulder.
“She acted like I was a stranger,” he told RadarOnline.com, leaving him to think, “someone said something about me that wasn’t true.”