Oprah Winfrey Buys Father’s Barbershop, Family Feud Brews
By Jonathan Martin, WSMV, Courtesy CNN
NASHVILLE, Tennessee — A family feud is brewing involving one of the country’s best known talk show hosts.
Oprah Winfrey bought the Nashville barbershop her father, Vernon Winfrey, has run for nearly 50 years. Now Oprah’s in control and leaving Vernon’s wife, Barbara Winfrey, out in the cold.
Barbara Winfrey said after the barbershop went into foreclosure she had a plan to fix the situation but claims her husband was given bad advice. One of the people she blames is Oprah.
“I know what is going on. I’m tired of it, and I’ve had enough,” Barbara Winfrey said.
Together, Barbara and Vernon Winfrey opened the current barbershop last year to replace the original location nearby.
Last month, the building went into foreclosure and then was sold in an auction Friday.
“There is no reason for it to go into foreclosure like this. The property is upside down, which is what a lot of properties are. It cost us $481,000 to build this building, but it’s only worth $350,000,” Barbara Winfrey said.
Barbara Winfrey said she was ready to take out a loan with another bank to pay off the building’s debt, but her husband refused to sign off.
“People are giving him wrong advice, and it’s leaving me in a situation where all I can do is fight for me,” Barbara Winfrey said.
Channel 4 News has learned Oprah Winfrey purchased her father’s property in the auction Friday for just more than $475,000.
Her spokesperson sent a statement to Channel 4, which read, in part:
“Oprah purchased the property that was in foreclosure,” and that, “Vernon Winfrey has been a fixture in the community for decades and will continue to manage the business on a day-to-day basis.”
The purchase essentially means Barbara Winfrey no longer owns the shop, but rather Oprah does.
“He believes what he’s told. His daughter doesn’t care about the community. His daughter doesn’t care about the barbershop. But I do,” Barbara Winfrey said.
Vernon Winfrey was out of town Friday, but he explained in a phone interview with Channel 4 why he allowed the sale to happen.
“My wife and I, we have not been getting along well, and I did not want to endow myself to another drawn-out, struggling debt,” Vernon Winfrey said.
Barbara Winfrey also said her husband filed for divorce on Tuesday. She said she is concerned for his health and doesn’t believe he understands the decisions he is making.