Her most SHOCKING claims yet:
-'What she has done is nothing short of evil, but she doesn’t scare me.'
-Barbara imposed a three-year sex ban on Vernon, 81, after obtaining a video of him having sex with a crack addicted prostitute called one Tooth’ in his Nashville barbershop
-'Viagra will go on and on for hours. I was not about to have this man have a heart attack on me.’
-'He said his daughter told him that she would cut his trust money off if he did not divorce me.'
Tears streaming down her face Barbara Winfrey takes stock and surveys the empty space inside the vast $1.4 million mansion. The 66-year-old grandmother yesterday said goodbye to the impressive five-bedroom property in Franklin, south Nashville – a place she has called home for 14 years, and MailOnline captured the moments of her emotional farewell exclusively.
She had until midnight to vacate the house after being booted out by talk show queen Oprah Winfrey. Barbara was evicted following a bitter 18-month divorce battle with the star’s elderly father Vernon Winfrey. And the former high-school vice-principal – who is now homeless and facing the prospect of living in motels – believes Oprah had a ‘personal vendetta’ against her and deliberately tried to ‘destroy’ her life.
In an exclusive interview with MailOnline an emotional Barbara said: ‘That woman has set out to ruin me, destroy me. To take this house away is petty, this has been my home for 14 years. ‘Oprah’s a billionaire three times over, her help live better than this. She said publicly that she offered to sell the house and give me the proceeds, but that’s a lie, she never said that. ‘Oprah owns property all over the world so there is no reason to sell this house other than to spite me, it’s a personal vendetta.’
Barbara’s stinging attack is reinforced in bombshell legal documents seen by MailOnline and revealed for the first time today. The legal papers claim Oprah took part in a ‘conspiracy’ to force her father to divorce Barbara and kick her out of her home. The chat queen is said to have attended ‘secret meetings’ with dad Vernon during which they plotted to get Barbara out of the property. Vernon has denied those claims.
The lawsuit states that one took place on Mother’s Day in May 2012 - and Vernon filed for divorce just a month later. Barbara also alleges that Oprah was so intent on orchestrating the split that she threatened to cut Vernon off financially unless he broke up with her. Vernon denies that his famous daughter has ever intervened or threatened to cut the trust.
The claims are revealed in never before reported depositions made at the height of Vernon and Barbara’s divorce battle, which lasted 18 months before being resolved. In that time Barbara says she has learned the hard way not to cross her daughter-in-law. A world away from the inspirational figure who adorns our TV screens on a regular basis, the Oprah Barbara describes is manipulative, high-handed and the ‘devil’ incarnate, Barbara said in MailOnline's exclusive interview.
‘What she has done is nothing short of evil, but she doesn’t scare me, her actions cause me to disrespect her,’ says Barbara. Vernon has let Barbara keep most of the furniture in the home, only taking a few items he wanted to keep. ‘We spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on furniture, everything was high end,' she said. For now the furniture will sit in storage and a mini grand piano which held pride of place in the front room has been moved to a friend's house.
But defiant Barbara vowed: ‘I’m leaving with less than I had before the marriage, but eventually I’m gonna have a home as nice as this or better.' Barbara does get to keep her beloved Mercedes SL500, however. Oprah bought her the luxury car as a gift 11 years ago during a shopping spree during a visit to Tennessee. ‘It’s got mine and her name on it so she can’t take my Mercedes,’ said Barbara. ‘It’s 11 years old with 125,000 miles on it so it won’t be worth much.’
While we talk, Barbara is perched on a high stool at the granite worktop in the mansion’s huge $60,000 kitchen. The spacious five-bed, five bath property is on a sprawling private estate and set in its own woodland. It also boasts a library, billiards room, bar and wine cellar. Barbara’s pet dog Fluff, a Yorkie-poodle mix, yapped at the feet of the movers as the house was systematically cleared of all furniture and belongings and loaded into a U-Haul truck all day yesterday. The former educator let out a deep sigh as she reflected on the move and the woman who has caused her so much heartache.
Barbara believes Oprah has taken ‘pleasure’ in uprooting her from her home. ‘That’s why I feel sorry for her because I don’t understand the evilness,’ she said. ‘I’m at the point in life when I should be enjoying my retirement. Instead I have to contend with this. ‘There’s a difference between wanting to hurt someone, but to destroy them? To take their money, to take their credit, take their property, I don’t understand that, that’s evilness I can’t comprehend.’
In a previous interview with MailOnline Barbara accused Oprah of helping Vernon hatch an ‘escape plan’ to get out of their marriage and the divorce depositions give unprecedented detail into how it apparently worked. Over hundreds of pages, the depositions and divorce proceedings lay bare the anatomy of a 14-year marriage gone awfully wrong. They detail how Barbara imposed a three-year sex ban on Vernon, 81, after obtaining a video of him having sex with a crack addicted prostitute called ‘Ol’ one Tooth’ in his Nashville barbershop a couple of years earlier.
Yesterday Barbara told MailOnline how she reacted to the shocking discovery. ‘It was disgusting and absolutely humiliating at the same time. ‘That whole episode still hurts deep down. I always wanted to make the shop nice, make it a better business, I never knew it had been a hang out place for prostitutes.’ The video – which Barbara has hidden in a safe place - purportedly shows Vernon and a group of his friends receiving oral sex in turn from the prostitute while they sit in the barber's chair.
'After I found out I couldn’t forgive, forgiving is something I have to do it for myself. I never gave up, I just needed time to heal, but Vernon wouldn’t give me time, he was selfish.’ In his deposition Vernon is apologetic about the incident. He said: ‘I just told her that I was in error, and I’m very sorry, worst thing I’ve ever done since I’ve been married, and asked if she would forgive me.’
Vernon also denies ever having any other sexual encounters with women behind his ex-wife’s back. Embarrassingly, in her deposition, Barbara reveals another reason she refused sex was because Vernon took the Viagra pill. She said: ‘And Viagra will go on and on and on for hours. And at his age - I knew he had had a stroke already, and I was not about to have this man have a heart attack on me.’ In her deposition, Barbara rakes over Vernon’s bad habits, his sexism, his drinking, bad hearing and the fact he’d spread private gossip about his wife in his barbershop.
It also detailed the time when Vernon allegedly threatened to pull a gun on Barbara in their home. She said she had returned home late one night and Vernon, who had been drinking, asked her where she had been. When she replied, ‘I just went out,’ Vernon was less than pleased. Barbara said: ‘He said, I have a gun in my pocket. And he said, I will use it. He started chasing me around the island in the kitchen.’
But Vernon countered: ‘I’m standing here talking with my hand in my pockets on the housecoat. I admit my gun was down here (indicating). But I never attempted – she never saw the gun…I never pulled it out, that’s why I never threatened her.’ In another incident Vernon allegedly threatened to push Barbara down the stairs, another claim he denies.
The depositions also reveal just how much Oprah, 60, has been supporting her father for much of his life. In January 1998 she set up a trust in Vernon’s name into which she paid $1.9 million, giving Vernon annual payments of up to $176,000. During his marriage to Barbara she gave her father another $1 million. What should happen to the money became the focus of the divorce. In her deposition she is asked by Robert Davies, Vernon’s lawyer: ‘I want you to tell me what you mean when you say Mr Winfrey has conspired with his daughter and with (Vernon’s ‘adopted’ son) Thomas Walker to take actions designed to deprive the wife of her equitable interest in their marital property. ‘What conspiracy are you telling the court about?’ Barbara replies that they ‘have secret meetings’ and points to one on Mother’s Day 2012 at the Hermitage Hotel in Nashville, which is where she and Vernon were married.
Barbara said for that reason 'they specifically picked that hotel to send a message to me'. She claims she asked to attend but she was rebuffed - and afterwards Vernon made a crucial admission. Barbara said: ‘He (Vernon) also said that his daughter (Oprah) - he said his daughter told him that she would cut his trust money off if he did not divorce me.’ It was only after the Vernon said their marriage was over that Barbara started to ask questions about what was going on, she says.
Under questioning by Rose Palermo, Barbara’s attorney, Vernon is asked about the trust, which was set up two days after he filed for divorce. The trust is in the name of Thomas Walker, Vernon’s 'adopted' son, and is primarily to benefit him. However Palermo points out that the trustee ‘may distribute any amounts of the principal (sum) as may be required for the health, support, and maintenance of Vernon Winfrey’. Trustee Tolbert Chisum, a friend of Oprah and her long-time boyfriend Stedman Graham, says that Barbara's 'first request' for a settlement for her divorce from Vernon was $5 million. Barbara then came back with a reduced request that was 'maybe a million, or half a million'. Ultimately, Barbara says she came away with ‘absolutely nothing’ from the lengthy proceedings.
To this Chisum replied that Oprah responded: 'Absolutely not. No settlement'. Chisum admitted in the deposition that Oprah 'doesn't like' Barbara. ‘Oprah took it all, after 14 years I haven’t got a cent to show for it,’ she told MailOnline. Asked why Oprah was so involved with something that was not directly to do with her, Chisum said: 'Because it is her father'. Vernon also revealed Oprah’s long-term partner Stedman Graham and close friend Gayle King were charged with managing Vernon’s trust at various points in the past.
Vernon and Barbara met in the 1990s whilst she was working as Vice Principal at Brentwood High School, a respected public school in Nashville. Vernon ran a barber shop in a rundown area of East Nashville was a local landmark – it has been there for more than 50 years – and was a respected councillor and local figure. After Vernon’s first wife died they got together but things turned ‘sour’ in 2007, seven years into their marriage.
Barbara claims that by then she had got fed up with Vernon watching boxing until 2am in their bedroom and staying out until 3am playing checkers with his friends. She also alleges that he drank too much, which Vernon denied, and was sexist, something Vernon does not dispute. In his deposition Vernon says: ‘Well, my complaints about it that - and I have told Barbara several times that a lady has a place and a man has a place. ‘But Barbara told me that her place is wherever she wants to be. I could never make her understand that there was a place for a lady and a place for a man. ‘As a man, I'm supposed to be head of the house. But I was wearing the britches or pants, but she was the head. She was running everything. I didn't like that.’
Vernon admitted that he had a love for the boxing and watched it in the bedroom, but added: ‘It hadn’t bothered her for 10 or 11 years, but it started bothering her.’ He also hit back at Barbara claiming she also vanished till late at night, sometimes dressed up and out till 10 or 11 at night.He said: ‘I’m wondering where she is that long. We got to arguing about it when she got back…that’s hard on an old man with a young lady. I didn’t know where she was going.’ For her part, Barbara said that she had complaints about him saying that she ‘didn't stay in my place’. She said in her deposition: ‘I don't know what that means. This is 2013. ‘Everything else came before me. The barbershop people, the neighborhood people, the church people, the family people, everybody came before his wife.
‘I was at the bottom of the list.’ In November last year a judge blamed Vernon for the split “on the grounds of adultery and inappropriate marital conduct.” Donald P. Harris, a Special Judge in the Tennessee Supreme Court, ordered him to pay his ex-wife almost $70,000 in attorney fees. During proceedings it was revealed that Vernon gifted a property that he and his wife had owned — free-of-charge - to another man.
Vernon allowed it to go into foreclosure “knowing that it would be purchased by his daughter… to defeat any interest of Barbara Winfrey.” As a result, Judge Harris penalized Vernon for his apparent scheming, ordering that he be held liable for one of the pair’s loan accounts and Barbara “be held harmless” because of his actions. “Thus, the marital estate has a net value of $121,686,” the judge noted.
“The court is of the opinion that each of the parties be awarded property and indebtedness with a net value of $60,843. Vernon Winfrey is awarded all the marital property except for the household furnishings located in the marital residence.' But Barbara said: ‘Yes I got the furniture, but after I paid the attorney fees, all the bills and expenses I didn’t have a dime left, no alimony, nothing.’ It was not until November 2012, five months after the divorce had been filed, that Barbara discovered that she would be evicted from her home.
Oprah had bought the property with her money and so kept her name on the title, meaning she was legally allowed to sell it. Barbara claims that to rub salt in the wound Oprah called her up and told her: ‘You say I never talk to you? ‘I want to talk to you now. You have until Monday to get out of MY house.’ As a result of Oprah’s actions Barbara now faces the ultimate humiliation - she must find a roof over her head. Which for an intelligent, university educated older woman who has had a successful life, family and career cuts deep. ‘I’m homeless for now, but I will stay at my daughter’s or at a friends, or even a motel if I have to. I am a survivor,’ she said. ‘It is difficult but you have to deal with what’s been dealt you, it’s just stuff at the end of the day, you can’t take it with you.’ The normally energetic gran says that while she is ‘exhasuted’ by the near two year divorce battle but is glad it’s finally over. ‘I’ve been here a little over 14 years, this was mine and Vernon’s family home, she said. ‘But in a way today is a happy as well as a sad day.’
Vernon lives alone in a $400,000 four bed home his celebrity daughter bought him in Nashville. ‘Vernon and I are still friends, we speak on the phone once a week, but I can’t go to see him, there are people watching,’ says Barbara. ‘But I feel so sorry for him, there’s no one looking after him.’ And in a dig at Oprah she adds: ‘Why would you put your 81-year-old dad in a four bedroom house to live by himself.’ Barbara says friends have reported that Vernon is dirty, with long finger nails and in need of a hair cut. ‘I worry about him cooking for himself or leaving the stove on, I know how he was here, he’s had a stroke, he doesn’t process stuff the way he used to, he has memory problems and hearing loss. ‘He’s an old man, he needs someone to care for him.’
For now, Barbara must focus on her own future. Without a home or a husband, she must scrape by on her teacher’s pension and her social security allowance. She says she has some new business ventures underway and will plough her time into educating young people. ‘I’ve come from nothing so I know how to survive,’ she says. ‘It gives me a chance to get on with a new life. People may say, ‘what is a 66-year-old woman talking about a new life for’, but that’s the way I am. ‘I’m trying to stay positive, it’s a new day for me.'
I love making these posts. I hope this woman never stops.