Iyanla Vanzant is an inspirational speaker, author and television personality. In 2000, she was named one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans because of her contributions toward healthy relationships. During the 1990s she appeared on The Oprah Show as a relationship expert. In 2001, she launched her own show, Iyanla. Iyanla recently appeared on The Oprah Show for the first time in 11 years. They discussed the controversy over her departure from the show. I watched their discussion and I found it quite interesting. I hadn't heard of Iyanla Vanzant before that show. During the show, she also introduced her new book - Peace from Broken Pieces. Her book is about the last decade of her life and the lessons she has learned. She recounts her rise as a celebrity, the downfall of her marriage, and the illness and death of her daughter.
In chapter 9 of Peace from Broken Pieces, she relates an experience that she referred to during her latest interview with Oprah. Here is an excerpt:
Iyanla Vanzant's, Peace from Broken Pieces is an inspirational memoir. She hopes that her story will help others to get through what they are going through. Peace from Broken Pieces can be purchased at www.thequalitycorner.com."One of the best shows during my time with Oprah was the men's show. On one side, the producers gathered a group of men of all ages, my husband among them, to talk about their challenges with women. On the other side was a group of women who were ready and willing to talk about their disappointments with men. My job was to help both sides get on the same side of the table. It was meant to be insightful, inspiring, and instructional, and it seemed pretty innocent—until one of the men made a comment about women only wanting men for their money and what they could provide. I offered several counterarguments, but he and a few of the others were intent on arguing me down. So, to make the point, I put another nail in the coffin of my marriage. With all of the sincerity I could muster, I stood there on national television and said:
"That may be true for some, but it is not true for all. I love my husband and he doesn't have any money. What he has is a huge heart and a lot of love for me. That is what really matters." As I spoke, I pointed at my husband. The camera zoomed in on him. He looked fine to me, or perhaps I needed to believe that my announcement about him would not have any effect on his masculine ego. Meanwhile, the man I was talking to told me that I was special and that most women were not like me. Oprah saved me by bringing in another point of view. It was innocent. It was a disaster. We never talked about it, but I learned from friends that my husband was devastated. What I had said was true, but he was still devastated. Although I apologized several times, he never really recovered from my unintended humiliation.
It really is true that being on Oprah can make or break you. While in one sense that appearance was the straw that broke the back of my marriage, it also injected a hot shot of adrenaline into my career. Everywhere I went, I became "the lady on Oprah." People were mobbing me for photographs and autographs in the airport and Target! My books were flying off of the shelves. The publisher was printing more to keep up with the demand."