CHICAGO — Oprah Winfrey has discovered she has a half sister – a Milwaukee woman who was given up for adoption by Winfrey’s mother nearly 50 years ago, when the talk show host was 8 years old.

An emotional Winfrey introduced her newly found sibling to viewers Monday and explained the woman’s persistent quest to find her birth mother.

“This, my friends, is the miracle of all miracles,” Winfrey said before bringing out the 48-year-old woman, who throughout the program was identified only as Patricia.

After years of searching for blood relatives, the woman met Winfrey on Thanksgiving Day of last year.

When Patricia was born in Milwaukee in 1963, Winfrey was living with her father and did not even know her mother was pregnant, she said.

Patricia, who Winfrey said bounced from foster home to foster home until she was adopted at age 7, had given up after previous searches for her mother. But she decided to resume looking several years ago at the insistence of her grown children.

The effort seemed to hit a dead end when a woman from the Wisconsin adoption agency called to respond to her inquiries.

“She was telling me that my birth mother had called her back, and she had made the decision at that particular time that she did not want to see me,” Patricia said.

Coincidentally, on the local news that day was a story about Winfrey’s mother, Vernita Lee, who revealed details about two of her children who had since died. Those details, Patricia said, matched information she had seen in papers about her own adoption.

Winfrey’s mother also said that one of the deceased children had been named Patricia.

“The hairs on the back of my neck stood up,” Patricia said. “Because I knew one of my siblings and I shared the same name.”

Later, she found more matching details.

Winfrey said birth documents reveal that Lee gave up the baby for adoption because she did not think she could get off welfare if she kept the child.

Winfrey said Patricia had known since 2007 that the two were related, but never attempted to profit off her discovery.

“She never once thought to sell the story,” Winfrey said.

Aguilera picked to sing anthem at Super Bowl


LOS ANGELES — Christina Aguilera will sing the national anthem at Super Bowl XLV, the NFL and Fox announced Monday.

“I have been performing the anthem since I was 7 years old, and I must say the Super Bowl is a dream come true,” Aguilera said.

Country star Martina McBride did the honors in Pittsburgh on Sunday, where the Steelers beat the New York Jets, while fan favorite Jim Cornelison sang before the contest between the Packers and Bears in Chicago — bumping “American Idol” winner Lee DeWyze. Cornelison regularly sings “The Star Spangled Banner” before Chicago Blackhawks games.

The Packers and Steelers will meet Feb. 6 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with the Black-Eyed Peas headlining the halftime show. More than 153 million people watched last year’s Super Bowl.

Hasty Pudding honors Jay Leno


CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Massachusetts native Jay Leno is Harvard University’s Hasty Pudding Man of the Year.

Hasty Pudding Theatricals is the nation’s oldest undergraduate drama troupe. It says “The Tonight Show” host was selected because he has “entertained millions of people over his long and accomplished career in comedy.”

Leno follows in the footsteps of his mentor Johnny Carson, who won the award in 1977.

Leno will receive his pudding pot at a roast on Feb. 4.