*Oprah Winfrey was ambushed this week by the man claiming she wanted to adopt him as a young boy, only to turn her back on him completely when he quit the posh private school that she paid for him to attend.
As previously reported, Winfrey met Calvin Mitchell on a TV set in the 90s, when he was a young boy from Chicago.
Mitchell — claiming to be Winfrey’s son — confronted the mogul Wednesday in an ambush set up by the National Enquirer as she left a taping of “The Late Show” in New York City.
“He was never my son,” she explained to ET’s Nancy O’Dell on Thursday. “He was a child I befriended … I think it was 1992. I was doing a film for television called ‘There are No Children.’”
“I did have a son at 14,” she explained. “That son was a baby who died. I would have to say if I was the birth son, I’d be looking for me too. I’d be like ‘Mama, what happened?’” joked the billionaire TV star.
Winfrey — who’s was on “The Late Show” to promote her latest OWN project, “Belief” — told ET her account of their first encounter in the 90s.
“We were shooting in the projects in Chicago and I was sitting on set during a break, and this cute little sparkly-eyed boy came underneath the yellow tape to hand me a soda,” she said. “I was so charmed by him that I started talking to him about his family, his school life and found out that he was in a situation where his mother didn’t have a job and they were stuck in the projects.”
Winfrey explained how she moved Mitchell, now 35, and his family out of the projects, helped his mother find employment and enrolled the boy in Providence St. Mel, a Chicago-area private school. But it wasn’t long before the troubled teen was eventually expelled.
“I had a long conversation with him about how disappointed I was but I was going to give him another chance,” she continued. “I found a school in Mississippi that was a private boarding school because I thought if I could remove him from the environment that he’d been accustomed to growing up in, that maybe that would be helpful to him.”
Winfrey said she encouraged him to stay enrolled in the boarding school, but the 16-year-old eventually dropped out telling the talk show host his “teachers didn’t like him.”
Although she didn’t immediately recognize Mitchell outside of “The Late Show” earlier this week, Winfrey saw desperation in the now truck driver.
“As I left, and he was looking so forlorn, he was like, ‘Can I speak to you?’ So I said to somebody on my team, ‘Will somebody get Calvin’s number so I can contact him later?’”
“When I realized the whole thing was a setup [by The National Enquirer], I was no longer interested in speaking to him,” she explained, noting that she’s not hurt, but is “disappointed” by the series of events.
Although Mitchell blew his own opportunity to be aided by the philanthropist, Winfrey revealed it was her experience with Mitchell that led her to open her Leadership Academy for Girls in 2007.
“It isn’t enough to give a persona a new life or money or a new car, you have to teach them how to fish themselves,” she said.
Watch Oprah’s ET interview below: