Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan gave Oprah Winfrey an explosive interview that had many people talking.
During the two-hour special that aired Sunday night on CBS, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex opened up about mental health struggles, the gender of their second child and an emotional exchange Meghan had with Prince William’s wife Duchess Kate, among other bombshells.
Following the interview, Serena Williams praised her “selfless friend” Meghan in a statement posted on her Twitter account, adding that the duchess’ comments “illustrate the pain and cruelty she’s experienced.”
“I know firsthand the sexism and racism institutions and the media use to vilify women and people of color to minimize us,” the tennis icon wrote. “We must recognize our obligation to decry malicious, unfounded gossip and tabloid journalism. The mental health consequences of systemic oppression and victimization are devastating, isolating and all too often lethal.”
“I don’t know what people thought, but nobody was expecting that,” CBS host Gayle King said Monday on “This Morning.”
The revelatory interview drew other strong reactions on Twitter.
Viral inaugural poet Amanda Gorman lamented the British royal family missing out on Meghan’s “light” as an “opportunity for change, regeneration, and reconciliation in a new era.”
She added: “Meghan is living the life Diana should have, if only those around her had been as brave as she was. Meghan isn’t living a life without pain, but a life without a prison. … Unclear if this will change the Royal family, but Meghan’s strength will certainly redefine family everywhere. Think of the women who will be inspired to stand up for their lives, the partners who will be kinder & more courageous than the kin they were born into.”
“It’s true what Meghan Markle told @Oprah, we don’t know what goes on in people’s lives behind closed doors,” wrote Maria Shriver. “That’s something we can all remember.”
“This is so sad,” tweeted Andy Cohen. “And riveting. And I want to see every second of the rest of it.”
Meghan McCain wrote: “Monarchy has been an archaic and toxic concept since 1776,” along with a GIF of the Broadway musical “Hamilton.”
MSNBC host Chris Hayes said the special highlighted Winfrey’s skill as an interview.
“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,” he wrote.
Former Fox News and NBC host Megyn Kelly, on the other hand, thought Winfrey “stayed too broad” in her interview.
“I wanted more,” she tweeted. ” ‘who?…Be specific…what exactly did they say? Who was jealous of M after Australia? How did u know that? What do you mean ur family hasn’t “educated themselves” the way u have? They’re racists? WHO?’ Eventually they’d have to get specific.”
‘I didn’t want to be alive anymore’: Duchess Meghan tells Oprah Winfrey she contemplated suicide
E! host Nina Parker reflected on how the interview hit close to home: “You know why Black women believe Meghan? Because we know exactly what micro aggressions look like. And how they slowly drive you insane.”
“Bachelor” star Matt James wrote he was “not surprised at all by what I’m hearing, just a sad reminder.”
The interview gave George Takei thoughts on how to settle the controversy with the royal family.
“Maybe they should just make Oprah queen and call it a day,” he wrote.
Jada Pinkett Smith also cracked a joke about the drama, sharing an edited picture on Instagram of Queen Elizabeth II appearing on Red Table Talk.
“When I heard this was two hours. I thought how can they fill that?” tweeted NBC News White House correspondent Kelly O’Donnell. “Now I wish there was more.”
British broadcaster Piers Morgan criticized the interview, calling it “an absolutely disgraceful betrayal of the Queen and the Royal Family.”
“I expect all this vile destructive self-serving nonsense from Meghan Markle – but for Harry to let her take down his family and the Monarchy like this is shameful,” he added.
In the virtual interview room at the Critics Choice Awards, which aired opposite Oprah’s exclusive sitdown, Seth Meyers offered parenting advice for the duke and duchess, who announced in the interview they are expecting a baby girl.
The big Oprah interview:Duchess Meghan says speaking for herself is ‘liberating’
“You let your kids tell you the kind of parent they need, and each one’s going to need you to be a little bit different,” Meyers said. “You’ve got to be the variable.”
Comedian Matt Bellassai commented on “the little inhales meghan and harry both take before dropping each bombshell ……. the ‘i’m about to say this (expletive) to oprah’ breath.”
Tennis legend Billie Jean King commended the duchess’ honesty about her mental health struggles. During the interview, Duchess Meghan revealed she contemplated suicide while living in the palace.
“Among the revelations from the Meghan and Harry interview is Meghan’s struggle with mental health,” she wrote. “Her honesty will hopefully lead to more acceptance and more help for those who need it.”
If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time day or night, or chat online.
Crisis Text Line also provides free, 24/7, confidential support via text message to people in crisis when they dial 741741.