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Graham and Oprah met in 1986 at a charity function and soon took their relationship public. In 1987, he called into “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” asking: “I don’t know if you recognize my voice or not?”
"Stedman, is that you?” Oprah responded. “Steddy honey?"
The couple got engaged in October 1992, when Graham proposed to the media mogul at her Indiana home, People reported at the time.
“I want you to marry me,” he told her, according to the report. “I think it’s time.”
While Winfrey and Graham had initially planned to tie the knot in 1993, they ultimately wrote off the idea of marriage, Vanity Fair reported.
In a 2017 profile in Vogue, Winfrey said she believed if they had gotten married, they would likely no longer be together.
“We would not have stayed together, because marriage requires a different way of being in this world,” she said. “His interpretation of what it means to be a husband and what it would mean for me to be a wife would have been pretty traditional, and I would not have been able to fit into that.”
Graham was raised in Whitesboro, N.J. with his five siblings, his housewife mother and a contractor father, according to the People report. After receiving an undergraduate degree from Hardin-Simmons University in Texas, where he played college hoops, he moved on to grad school in Indiana, at Ball State University.
He began his public relations career in High Point, North Carolina.
“He always had something to prove,” one of his first bosses, Bob Brown, told People. “Stedman mixes well… He fits in wherever he goes. He’s a great traveler. He doesn’t get tired or irritable. And he is intensely loyal.”
Despite the occasional modeling gig early on in his career, Graham, who has one daughter with his first wife, Glenda, now maintains a relatively low profile compared to Winfrey, but often posts about his business ventures on social media.
The 69-year-old motivational speaker authored a book, “Identity Leadership,” as part of his “Nine-Step Success Process,” and in connection with his consulting and marketing business, S. Graham & Associates.
“For more than 30 years, I have been writing books, teaching in colleges, working in communities, leading non-profits and speaking at workshops throughout the world. In all that time, I have come to know one thing: leadership is everything. The needs of the 21st century cannot be met by followers,” he wrote in a message on his website. “Before you lead others, you must first be able to lead yourself.”
His website shows he has authored 10 other books with similar themes.