Oprah Winfrey says she is irritated by the continuing rumours that she is a lesbian.

The chatshow host, 56, said she would not hide the truth about her sexuality.

For years, rumours have circulated that she and best friend Gayle King are a couple, despite Winfrey having been in a relationship with Stedman Graham since 1986.

She told ABC’s Barbara Walters: “I have said we are not gay enough times. I am not lesbian.

“I’m not even kind of a lesbian. And the reason why the rumour irritates me is because it means that somebody must think I’m lying. That’s number one.

“Number two, why would you want to hide it? That is not the way I run my life.”

However, the star broke down in tears as she called King her best friend.

Winfrey said: “She’s the mother I never had. She is the sister everybody would want.

“She is the friend everybody deserves. I don’t know a better person.

“Shoot, I wasn’t going to cry here. It’s making me cry because I’m thinking how much I probably never told her that. I’ve never told her that.”