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Stedman Graham made an appearance on NBC’s Today this morning to talk about his new book, Identity: Your Passport to Success. The businessman and educator, best known for his 25-year relationship with Oprah Winfrey, also opened up to Matt Lauer about standing in the shadows of one of the most powerful women in the world. He later stepped up to defend Oprah’s struggling OWN Network.

Graham, who rarely speaks with the media, was candid in discussing his fondness for Oprah.

“It’s certainly been a wonderful thing to be around somebody who was just one of the greatest special people in the world,” Graham said, “I’m very fortunate to be able to have that opportunity and to learn so much from her. What I’ve learned from her throughout the years is that, you know, she’s a thinker. She understands the process of success.”

When Lauer spoke about Oprah leaving her highly successful show to start OWN, which has been an uphill battle, Stedman responded, “Well, [the] first year should be tough. If you’ve been working on a show for 25 years, you’ve been number one and you’re starting off with the first year in developing OWN, it should be tough. You have to reorganize…. Every year it gets better and better and better and better. That’s part of the process.”

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