Oprah apologizes for slamming author James Frey

Reuters – May 13, 2009 2:34 PM PDT

Story photo: Oprah apologizes for slamming author James FreyOprah Winfrey poses in Beverly

Hills, California December 5, 2008. REUTERS/Fred ProuserReuters

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Oprah Winfrey has apologized to author James Frey for shaming him on her TV chat show amid revelations he had fabricated parts of his memoir, her spokeswoman said on Wednesday.

Winfrey’s apology was first reported on the Web site of Vanity Fair, with the author saying he felt “grateful” for Winfrey’s gesture. The two have a tumultuous history.

Winfrey had been one of Frey’s most vocal boosters, naming his 2003 drugs-and-alcohol memoir “A Million Little Pieces” one of her “book club” choices in 2005 and propelling it to bestseller status.

But the next year, after it was revealed Frey had invented some details in the supposedly non-fiction memoir and written that he once spent three months behind bars when in reality it was a few hours, Winfrey lambasted him as a guest on her show.

“It is difficult for me to talk to you, because I really feel duped,” Winfrey said on the 2006 broadcast.

She went on to accuse the author of betraying his readers. Her berating of Frey was among the most public embarrassments for the author, who apologized for “lying.” A month after the broadcast his publisher Riverhead Books dropped him.

But Winfrey and Frey appear to have reconciled.

Frey said Winfrey called him last fall to tell him “I felt I owe you an apology,” and she explained that her lambasting of him sprang from her sense of feeling betrayed, according to the Vanity Fair report.

“It was a nice surprise to hear from her, and I really appreciated the call and the sentiment,” he told Vanity Fair.

Angela DePaul, a spokeswoman for Winfrey confirmed that the chat show host had called to apologize.

There are no immediate plans to bring Frey on the show for another episode, because the program has stopped taping new episodes for the season.

Frey’s latest book “Bright Shiny Morning,” a work of fiction, came out last year from HarperCollins to mixed reviews and was reissued on paperback this month.

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