By Reya Mehrotra
Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey has created ripples around the world. Markle’s revelations, including her struggle with mental health, conversations in the royal family about baby Archie’s skin colour, among others, have become the highlights of the interview. Here are some celebrities whose interviews became the most iconic conversations of all times.
Princess Diana’s most iconic interview that created headlines around the globe remains the BBC’s Panorama series, An Interview with HRH The Princess of Wales. In the interview, she revealed the truth about her marriage and her place in the royal family. The interview was conducted by Martin Bashir. Now under the scanner, it was the first time any member of the royal family had spoken so openly to the media.
Michael Jackson’s interview with Oprah Winfrey in 1993 is the most watched interview in television history with 90 million views. It was also special because after more than a decade of refusing interviews, he agreed for an interview with Winfrey. The questions ranged from his surgeries to relationships. He also revealed about missing out on a normal childhood as he was always working and that is why, he said, he always had children around him.
In 2009, Rihanna’s pictures with a bruised body surfaced leaving the world shocked. It was disclosed that she had been abused by her then boyfriend Chris Brown who was sentenced to five years’ probation. In her 2012 interview with Oprah Winfrey, Rihanna talked about forgiving the singer and said that she had “lost her best friend”. As she broke down during the interview, she also mentioned that she thought Brown was the love of her life.
Ellen De Genres
In 1997, two women hugely popular around the world for their shows, Ellen De Genres and Oprah Winfrey, came together for an iconic interview show. The moment is still labelled an important one for the LGBTQIA community as De Genres came out about being gay. The history-changing episode was titled Coming Out Interview and garnered 42 million views.
In 1988, former US president Donald Trump sat with Oprah Winfrey for an interview. He came on the show to promote his then new book and also talked about his views on foreign policies. He was asked by Winfrey if he would ever run for US presidency. “I think I’d win,” he had said. “I tell you what: I wouldn’t go in to lose. I’ve never gone in to lose in my life. And if I did decide to do it, I would say I’d have a hell of a chance of winning,” a confident Trump said 30 years ago.
Another royal on The Oprah Show to create headlines was Sarah Ferguson, the former wife of Prince Andrew. In the 1996 interview, she talked about how staying in the palace was not a ‘fairytale’. She also opened up about the treatment she received from the UK tabloids, calling them ‘cruel, abusive and invasive’. She sided with Princess Diana who was separated at that time from Prince Charles in the interview.
The American singer and actor’s interview with Diane Sawyer turned out to be one of the most watched interviews on American and British TV in 2002. The interview dealt with her struggles with drug abuse after years of controversies. Her addiction to substances jeopardised her career to a great extent. Later, in a 2009 Oprah Winfrey interview, she again confessed about her addiction and a tumultuous marriage to Bobby Brown.
With 45 million views, former US president Richard Nixon’s interview with British journalist David Frost was a four-part series (each was 90 minutes long). Nixon had been away from public eye after resigning from office in 1974 and the interviews were broadcast in 1977 in the US and a few other countries. The fifth part was released after a few months and showed the edited parts from the first four interviews. The first episode drew millions of views, a record that stands till date for the largest television audience for a political interview in history.
In 2009, former professional boxer Mike Tyson gave an emotional interview to Oprah Winfrey. He broke down while talking about the accidental death of his four-year-old daughter Exodus whose neck was trapped in a cord dangling from a treadmill at his home. Later, Winfrey had to apologise to Tyson’s former wife Robin Givens as, during the interview, she did not call Tyson out for his boastful claims on domestic violence he inflicted on Givens.