Oprah Winfrey explains obsession with luxurious, over-the-top bathtubs

Published August 17, 2017

Oprah Winfrey has many "favorite things" and often showers others with luxurious gifts (like the time she gifted the entire "A Wrinkle in Time" cast and crew with $400 juice machines). But there are some things that Oprah does just for Oprah.

Her must-have luxury? "The best possible bathtub a woman can buy," she says.

In a recent interview for Vogue, Jonathan Van Meter, who previously profiled Oprah for the magazine in 1998, asked the beloved talk show host about a tub he bore witness to the last time he interviewed her.

"Remember at your house in Telluride when you showed me your tub that was molded and shaped to your body?" he asks.

"Yup," she says. "I still have a nice bathtub. I major in bathtubs. I spend my time looking for the best possible bathtub a woman can buy. And actually, Stedman’s never been in this one. When I was in Chicago, he would ask for permission: 'Can I get in your tub?' And I would say, ‘Mmmmmm … OK.'"

So, why is Oprah Winfrey so obsessed with luxurious tubs?

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"You know where it came from? I will tell you. Honestly," Oprah says. "It came from the fact that I was raised with my father in, like, an 1,100-square-foot house where we all shared the same tub. And when I would go back home, after having been in hotels and seeing that there are nicer tubs in the world, and there’s that little tub with a ring around it, where Comet could no longer clean the ring around the tub — and it was my job to clean it — because it has been permatized, I vowed if I ever got my own place, I was going to get myself a good tub!"

Oprah also goes on to say that this mindset has impacted other aspects of her home life. For instance, she once owned 11 dogs at one time because she was never allowed to have a pet dog growing up. She says, "That’s how I’ve overcompensated: with dogs and tubs."

The article on Oprah also opens with a description of the opulent estate in California where she lives, and it's clear that amazing soaking tubs and dogs are not the only splurges in the TV personality's household. The home, which Oprah purchased in 2001 and calls the Promised Land, spans a total of 65 acres and sits between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. The estate also includes a grove of 12 trees she calls "the Apostles" and a fountain "the size of a lake that shoots water to the heavens."

The interview itself took place in the teahouse, which Van Meter describes as "a romantic, open-air stone structure Oprah built for the sole purpose of reading The New York Times in the morning while drinking her tea" and decorated with orchids, gardening books, and green wicker sofas and chairs decorating the place. Oprah calls out specific pieces of artwork in the space, including a Henry Moore sculpture of a woman in recline, a painting called "To the Highest Bidder" by the Brooklyn artist Harry Roseland, and, most notably, drawings by Nelson Mandela, of which Oprah says, "He gave them personally to me." And in her study, she keeps a bookcase lined with books that all have identical jackets. "Here’s the prize of my life," she says. "All my first-edition Pulitzers from the very beginning."

One can't help but picture Oprah soaking in a tub molded specifically to her body while reading a first-edition copy of "The Grapes of Wrath" to Stedman's chagrin.

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