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Oprah Winfrey's half-sister fulfilling her dreams in Milwaukee

Posted at 10:38 PM, Feb 06, 2018

MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee woman's half-sister is one of the most celebrated women today, Oprah Winfrey, and she shared her story with TODAY'S TMJ4 about how she approached the media mogul. 

We were there when Patricia Lee took monumental steps toward her future. At the age of 54, she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Sociology at UWM.

The ceremony was this past December. 

"It was wonderful. I really enjoyed going to college. I really enjoyed just learning," Lee said. 

Among those cheering her on was half-sister Oprah. An interview Patricia's mother did in 2007 with TODAY'S TMJ4 tipped off Lee that she could be related to the media mogul.

Lee waited three and a half years before approaching Oprah and her local relatives. 

"It was the right thing to do," she said. "I believe in a higher power, so I believe that things will work out the way that they should work out. You should not force things to work out the way you want them to work out."

Lee says finding out about her roots has given her closure.

"I think for any person who has been adopted and didn't know who their parents,  I think it's hard because you're always just wondering," she said.

The single mother of two never asked her mom, Vernita, why she was put up for adoption.

 "It happened for a reason," Lee said."I'm not angry about it. I'm not upset about it, it just happened that way. That's how my life was supposed to go."

"I think about the only thing that has really changed is knowing my family..that's the beautiful part of everything," she also said.

Now that she knows her roots, Lee looks to the future and hopes to use her degree for the greater good. 

"Go do something that is actually going to give back and help people," Lee said. 

Incredibly Lee says none of her UWM classmates knew she was Oprah's half-sister. Her focus was her education.

"For anyone out there who wants to go to college, whether they're 20 or 80 go do it!" Lee said. 

Lee is excited about the next chapter of her life. She's grateful for her education, family and of course the bond she's formed with her famous sister.  

As for the most significant gift Oprah has given her? She smiles and gently responds, "Her love!"