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Vernita Lee
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    She allegedly made Oprah sleep on the outside porch of the house she was employed at (reportedly due to her employer's colorist prejudices).
    For years she was bitterly estranged from Oprah, who claimed she physically beat her as a child.
    Kitty Kelley claims Oprah viewed her as exploitative and greedy, but not without good reason. (She allegedly stole Oprah's personal checkbook to write thousands of dollars in checks to herself, and once 'borrowed' Oprah's BMW and never returned it.)
    She was sued by a high-end fashion store for unpaid debts. Oprah had to step in and settle a $155,000 debt with Valentina Inc. as a result.
    She revealed on her daughter's show that Oprah had a half-sister, whom she had put up for adoption in 1963 - something the television mogul had only recently learned about (January 24, 2011).
    She worked as a housekeeper for most of her life.
    She outlived two of her other kids.
    She was a lifetime member of the NAACP.
    She chose to send Oprah to live with her strict father after she became pregnant at 14, which proved to be crucial to setting her on the right road.
    She appeared on her daughter's show to get a complete makeover from stylist Andre Walker (February 19, 1990).
    She and her sister actually resolved to name her daughter 'Orpah,' after the Biblical sister of Ruth, but they misspelled the name on the birth certificate and the typo stuck.
    She grew up poor in the Jim Crow South but her daughter grew up to be a billionaire and one of the most powerful women on the planet.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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