Oprah Winfrey says she faced fear of balloons, made it a metaphor

Ladies and gentlemen, we have learned Oprah Winfrey's biggest fear: balloons.

Those pesky foes of the helium variety scare the Queen of TV, and here's why.


"I really don't like balloons, and for my 40th birthday my entire staff decided to surprise me," "The Butler" star said in a promotional video for the October issue of O Magazine.

"I come downstairs and the entire audience is filled with balloons. Literally, I'm stepping over balloons, having to walk through balloons and I'm so, like, 'Oh! When is one going to pop?'

"It was an anxiety-filled day. I don't like them because it reminds me of gunfire," she said, and that "really freaks me out."

We all know the startling sound that balloons make when they pop, so we get it. But, hold up, who gets a 40-year-old balloons for their birthday? By that time, did she already have everything?

The entertainer, now 59, obviously had to turn this weakness into something she and her fans could learn from. So she faced her fear, which just happens to be the theme of the magazine's October issue.

"No way around it -- just had to walk through them," she said as she made her way through the carpet of ready-to-burst latex land mines.

Enter the "walking through balloons" metaphor.

The balloon incident, she said, "became a metaphor for facing all my fears: No way around it, just walk right through it."

"There are a few things that in life, if you allow them to, can really keep you from moving forward," Winfrey said. "I don't have a lot of fears because I understand that you have to really walk through it."

The OWN mogul also recalled an instance of being afraid to give a speech in front of a Harvard audience.

She "decided that facing the fear head-on, walking through it, actually getting up and doing that speech, would be more meaningful to me than staying at home and thinking what would have happened had I done it," she said.

The October issue of O hits newsstands Sept. 17.



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