As the highest profile interviewer in the world, Oprah Winfrey has hoards of celebs begging for a chat that could change the course of their lives.

Be it, to hit back at rumours and family members or to spark a redemption arc, as Chrissy Teigen is reportedly keen for after her tweeting scandal, celebrities are clamouring for the host's attention.

As the only black woman on the Forbes list of the 400 richest people in America, with an estimated net worth of £2.1 billion, Oprah is indisputably the Queen of TV.

But Oprah wasn't handed any of her success.

She was born to a working class family in Mississippi, where she spent her formative years on her grandmother's farm while her teenage mother sought to find work.

Aged six, Oprah moved to Milwaukee, where her mother had landed a job as a housemaid, but while she was at work Oprah was molested by male members of her family.

Oprah Winfrey is the highest profile interviewer in the world
Oprah Winfrey is the highest profile interviewer in the world

The abuse reportedly lasted from 9 to 13 and was "emotionally devastating" for young Oprah. In her new book the 67-year-old describes how her grandmother "whupped" her from a young age too.

"The long-term impact of being whupped — then forced to hush and even smile about it — turned me into a world-class people pleaser for most of my life," she writes in What Happened to You?: Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing.

"It would not have taken me half a lifetime to learn to set boundaries and say "no" with confidence had I been nurtured differently," she adds.

Oprah Winfrey in 1978
A portrait of Oprah Winfrey upon becoming co-anchor in 1978

She also writes that "the most pervasive feeling I remember from my own childhood is loneliness."

However, Oprah's experiences weren't to define her and she turned her into an incredibly strong young woman.

Oprah left home at 14 and gave birth to a baby, who died in infancy, and made her way to Nashville to live with her dad who took a firm but fair approach.

“He had some concerns about me making the best of my life, and would not accept anything less than what he thought was my best,” Oprah told the Academy of Achievement.

By 17, Oprah had won the Miss Black Tennessee beauty pageant and secured a scholarship to study at at Tennessee State University, majoring in speech communications and performing arts.

Oprah in 1978
Oprah Winfrey speaks at a podium early in her career, during her time at WJZ, Baltimore, Maryland, 1978

By the mid-70s she was appearing on regional TV and in 1976 co-hosted her first talk show, called People Are Talking, and her presenting style quickly became a success.

In 1985 she hosted the first iteration of The Oprah Winfrey Show, and by 1987 had won multiple Daytime Emmy Awards and the International Radio and Television Society’s 'Broadcaster of the Year' Award.

Her profile had been bolstered by her portrayal of Sofia in Steven Spielberg's adapation of the Alice Walker novel The Color Purple in 1985, winning her the Best Supporting Actress at the Golden Globe Awards.

From here the accolades and records came thick and fast: by 1988 Oprah became the first woman to own and produce her own talk show, named one of the 100 Most Influential People of the 20th Century by Time magazine, and in 1998 received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Tina Turner and Oprah
Tina Turner and Oprah at The Oprah Magazine Launch Party

She was also successful in the field of philanthropy: According to the Academy of Achievement, Oprah spearheaded a campaign to set up a US database of convicted child abusers.

Her mantra and life approach taught her to be determined even when facing adversity: "Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough," she famously once said.

By 2003, all her successes had made Oprah the first African American woman to be listed as a billionaire.

Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey in 2007
Presidential Candidate Barack Obama is joined by special guest Oprah Winfrey in 2007

Her success can also be measured by the way in which her contemporaries talk her up.

Following the landmark Meghan and Harry interview, in which Meghan revealed there had been concern in the royal family about how dark the couple's baby's skin colour was going to be, anchor Chris Hayes from MSNBC said: "I didn’t actually quite understand Oprah’s singular genius as a broadcaster and interviewer until I became one.

"But she’s legit on another level.”