Legendary interviewer Oprah Winfrey was caught by surprise whenfirst volunteered to be a part of her new venture to get people talking about mental health.
But as she told “CBS This Morning” co-host Gayle King, it was something she knew thewas passionate about from the start.
“From the first moment I had a conversation with Prince Harry about, what were his two most important issues facing the world, and he said, ‘Climate change and mental health,'” Winfrey said. “And I started to tell him about this series I was doing with Apple TV+.”
She recalled Harry replying, “If you ever need any help with that series, let me know.”
“What did I think when he volunteered? My first initial thought was, oh, yeah. This is like, ‘Let’s have lunch sometime,'” Winfrey said.
The result of their meeting and subsequent labor is premiering Friday on Apple’s streaming service. “The Me You Can’t See” is a multi-part documentary that explores mental health, told by real people — some famous and some not — who struggle with emotional wellbeing.
Harry and Winfrey appear in the series themselves, as well as having co-created it.
Winfrey, however, notes the two came from very different backgrounds.
“We even say that in the series. At one point, I’m talking about growing up with, you know, no running water and an outhouse. And he was like, ‘Well, I am the exact opposite of that,'” she laughed. “It doesn’t matter whether you were born in a castle, or whether you’re, you know, born in an outhouse or born to people who didn’t really want you.”
“We all have this spectrum of our mental well-being in common.”
In preview clips released from the series, Prince Harry appears to take a candid approach to his own issues. King asked if that candor would “help him with the royal family.”
“I don’t know if it helps with the royal family. But this is what I do know, is that being able to express your own personal truth in a way that benefits you and also helps other people to see the truth in themselves, which is the reason why Harry agreed to have the sit down and have the conversation — the first interview that went around the world. And in this series, you will see that we are in conversation,” Winfrey said.
Harry and his wife, Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, first publicly spoke with Winfrey in March in a bombshell interview filled with claims of racism and poor mental health management within the royal family, as well as revealing the couple’s difficulties in dealing with the British tabloids.
Winfrey noted that “he knows the power of story” when reaching millions of listeners.
“He knows that by sharing the story of his own grief with his mother, that many other people who haven’t processed their grief will say, ‘Oh, you know what? That’s what’s going on with me, too,'” Winfrey said.
King said what fascinated her was hearing Winfrey and the prince talk about their own traumas.
“But for the first time, I saw a different kind of emotion. And I’m wondering where that came from for you,” King said.
Winfrey replied that the process of talking about other people’s stories made her think a lot about her own.
She said she realized, “Every single thing that has happened, even when it was at its hardest, was happening to bring you to the you that you are right now.”
“Oftentimes — I learned this on my own show — Why do people break down and cry? ‘Cause nobody’s ever asked them a question in that way before,” Winfrey said.
King commented on how sad she thought the TV presenter looked in all the childhood photos she has seen, adding “and you’ve never had therapy.”
“Don’t make me start crying. You were my therapist. Every night after every show, you and I would chat. We thought it was just talking,” Winfrey said.
She said the “scientific term” for these conversations was “dosing.”
“Every night, dosing, dosing, dosing,” Winfrey said. “And so, you know, the beauty of this is that everybody doesn’t have a Gayle in their life. But there is a somebody who is willing to see you, and hear your story, and to validate you.”
King said, “What I like is you have a wide variety of people, and you have a wide variety of ages and ethnicities” on the AppleTV+ program.
Winfrey agreed, singling out the story of a Syrian refugee child named Fawzi.
She continued, “When his counselor says to him, ‘There are two sides warring. There’s the dark side and the light. And we’ve gotta bring you to the light. Otherwise, 20 years from now, the little boy that you are will still be warring, you know, with the dark side.'”
“That moved me so much because I thought about how many young Black boys are in the streets now warring with something that happened to them that nobody was ever able to sit down and say, ‘Here’s why you feel that way.'”
“How do you think the world changes when we know each other’s stories?” King asked.
Winfrey said it made us “more human.”
“We all realize that there is a common denominator in our humanity. That there is a shared pain. There is shared struggle, as well as shared joys,” she said. “It allows us all to see the humanity in ourselves and in each other.”