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Oprah Winfrey’s Stepmother Going To Court For Her Eviction

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oprah-barbara-winfreyBy: Stephanie Allen-Gobert

A Williamson County judge could decide Monday whether to evict, Barbara Winfrey, the former stepmother and ex-wife of Oprah Winfrey’s father Vernon Winfrey, from the suburban Nashville home owned by Oprah.

Barbara Winfrey, who was divorced last year from Oprah’s father and barbershop owner Vernon Winfrey, will face General Sessions Court Judge Ernie Williams at 9 a.m. next week. The hearing Monday could close a sordid legal drama for the Winfrey family.

Oprah bought the Laurelbrooke home for Vernon and Barbara Winfrey after they married in 2001. The house, and an adjacent vacant lot, was still kept in the name of the limited liability company Overground Railroad, started by Oprah Winfrey.

Barbara and Vernon’s relationship fell apart in 2012. Vernon filed for divorce from Barbara on grounds of inappropriate marital conduct. She then claimed that Vernon was violent and abusive to her. In November 2013, a Williamson County judge sided with Barbara Winfrey in the divorce.

Oprah has offered to give her former stepmother another house; the retired guidance counselor has refused to move. “I’ve been here 13 and a half years,” said Barbara Winfrey, 66.

She said financial problems have left her with bad credit, and she is unable to buy a house, spurning the offer of help from Oprah because she didn’t want to sign a confidentiality agreement.

Records show Vernon and Barbara lost ownership in 2012 of a Nashville development that included his new barbershop, along with property Vernon owned and a house Barbara owned on Chateau Valley Lane. Oprah Winfrey’s Phoenix Trust II paid $475,100 to buy the three properties in 2012 after they had fallen in foreclosure.

As part of the divorce proceedings, Oprah Winfrey’s spokeswoman said Barbara Winfrey was offered the home on Chateau Valley Lane in Nashville “free and clear’ to live with her family and she chose not to accept it.

Barbara said the sticking point of the Chateau Valley deal included signing a confidentiality agreement about Oprah Winfrey. “I’m not signing anything,” she said.

“The next offer was to sell the (Laurelbrooke) residence and split the proceeds equally, which (Barbara Winfrey) also turned down,” said Oprah’s spokeswoman. “After several requests to voluntarily vacate the property at Willowbrooke Circle, the appropriate paperwork has been filed to have her vacate the property.”

Barbara claims she has never been offered money from the sale of the Laurelbrooke property. But she said she would take that offer now.

“I’m not trying to stay here (just) to stay here,” Barbara said… Where am I going to go at 66 to find someplace to live? Who’s going to rent to me?”

Barbara said she doesn’t want any money from Oprah Winfrey. “It’s not money. It’s never been about money. If it had been about money, I would have taken it and run a long time ago.” She said.