A look inside the relationship of Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham, who say avoiding marriage helped them stay together for 32 years

Interest in media mogul Oprah Winfrey's hypothetical 2020 presidential run is surging.

Even US President Donald Trump has weighed in. While Trump asserted he'd beat Winfrey, in past years he said the former queen of daytime talk would be his ideal running mate, Business Insider reported.

Still, Winfrey's well-received Golden Globes speech, which touched upon the #MeToo movement, the free press, and the importance of combatting injustice, has catapulted her name to the forefront of this early presidential speculation.

And her longtime partner Stedman Graham's comments to The Los Angeles Times also helped fuel widespread interest in her political prospects.

Graham, who runs management and marketing consulting firm S. Graham and Associates, has been with Winfrey for 32 years.

Here's a look inside their relationship:​

The secretive relationship of Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham
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The secretive relationship of Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham
Harper's Bazaar reported that the couple first met at a charity event in 1986, the same year The Oprah Winfrey Show launched. They began dating that year.

Winfrey told People magazine that some people in her circle questioned her boyfriend's intentions because of his good looks: "They figured if he looked like that, he either had to be a jerk or want something."

But that didn't deter Winfrey. According to People, in the early days of their relationship, Graham would spend weekends at her "lavish condo on Chicago's Gold Coast," and even began leaving a toothbrush there.
As her national profile rose, Winfrey's personal life — including the question of when she would marry — became the talk of the tabloids.
After years of dating, Graham reportedly proposed to Winfrey in the kitchen of their Indiana home in 1992. "I want you to marry me. I think it's time," Graham told her, to which Winfrey responded: "Ah, that’s really great," according to People magazine.
But the wedding never happened. And Winfrey and Graham have since revealed that they intend to keep it that way.
In August 2017, Winfrey told Vogue that after the proposal, the couple talked and decided to postpone marriage. After that, they simply didn't talk about it again. "What I realized is, I don't want to be married," she said.
"The only time I brought it up was when I said to Stedman, 'What would have happened if we had actually gotten married?'" she told Vogue. "And the answer is: 'We wouldn't be together.' We would not have stayed together, because marriage requires a different way of being in this world."
Winfrey went on to tell Vogue that her longtime partner's "...interpretation of what it means to be a husband and what it would mean for me to be a wife would have been pretty traditional, and I would not have been able to fit into that."
Still, that hasn't stopped speculation over the years. Back in 2016, Winfrey took to Twitter to shoot down one such rumor, writing: "6 people who know me well have called today congratulating me or surprised they weren't invited to my wedding. IT'S NOT TRUE!!"
Back in 2012, Graham spoke with CNN about what it's like to be one half of such a highly-scrutinized couple, saying he doesn't base his whole identity off his relationship with Winfrey. "I'm with a very special person who is — she's just so unbelievable but that has nothing to do with my life. That's her life. I just support her in her life. And she supports me in my life."
This month, Winfrey's rousing Golden Globes speech prompted whispers that she might run for the White House in 2020. Graham helped to fuel speculation, telling The Los Angeles Times that his longtime partner's presidential bid would be "... up to the people. She would absolutely do it."
Longtime Winfrey confidante Gayle King later said that while Winfrey was "intrigued" by the idea of entering the realm of politics, she currently has no concrete plans to do so.
But it's apparently not the first time Graham has hinted at his political ambitions for his partner. He's suggested that Winfrey would make an excellent president for decades.
"He's a very special man in that he's not the least bit intimidated by me or what I do," Winfrey said during a 1987 interview on the set of The Oprah Winfrey Show. "He says to me all the time, 'Look, I want you to be president... you want to president? Run for president, I'll work the campaign.'"
The Daily Mail reported that Winfrey has referred to her and Graham as an "old married couple," at this point. She added that he's learned to navigate the pressures of fame with her, saying, "That takes a confident man."

​​​​​​See Also:

SEE ALSO: Everything we know about Recy Taylor, the sexual assault survivor who inspired Oprah's iconic Golden Globes speech

DON'T MISS: From poverty to a $3 billion fortune — the incredible rags-to-riches story of Oprah Winfrey

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