Oprah’s Most Memorable Latino Guests Ever!

Oprah Winfrey has had a plethora of famous and infamous guests during her show’s 25 seasons (it wraps up this Wednesday, May 25). Here are the most memorable Latinos who have either sat on her couch and poured their hearts out or been featured on the show.

1. Oprah Mariah Carey

Mariah Carey

Mimi is one of Oprah’s most frequent guests, having gone on 22 times. Among the highlights: in 2005, she coached a 12-year-old fan through his first recording session; in 2009, she and hubby Nick Cannon kissed on the show, which had been taped at Central Park.

2. Oprah Gloria Estefan

Gloria Estefan

Holy Conga. For the first time ever, in 2004, Estefan let cameras into her Miami mansion. She was promoting her tour and let Oprah into her sprawling and luxurious but somehow homey home. Inside: a room facing the water, with a dance floor big enough for 100 people, and a huge restaurant-style kitchen. 

3. Oprah Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende

The Chilean writer’s novel, Daughter of Fortune, got the Oprah bump when Winfrey chose her 2000 saga about a strong woman making her way during the 1800s.

4. Oprah Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The lauded Colombian novelist and Nobel Prize winner for literature has been picked by Oprah’s Book Club twice: for One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love in the Time of Cholera.

5. Oprah Christina Aguilera

Christina Aguilera

For Bionic, her first comeback album in four years, Xtina sang her heart out on Oprah (taped at Radio City Music Hall) in 2010, and waxed poetic about feeling superhuman after giving birth. “I think as women, our bodies go through such amazing things, and we are superhuman. We give life, we give birth, we are our child’s source of everything. Our bodies are not our own for a time period and we givingly and willingly do so for our child. But then when we get them back, you feel that much stronger and that much better and more confident.”

6. Oprah Eva Longoria

Eva Longoria

The Mexican American actress hooked up with the show in 2006 to redecorate her parents’ house. It made for a heartwarming, funny (and considering that then-hubby Tony Parker is in it, a bit sad) segment: Longoria had bought her parents their dream home, only to see them use patio furniture in their living room. Looking at it now, you at least feel glad that she’s got a family that she’s clearly close to, who helped get her through her divorce.

7. Oprah Ricky Martin

Ricky Martin

This is the Latino Oprah appearance. Martin, whose career as a singer and heartthrob compelled him to hide his homosexuality for decades, may have come out to the world on his website last spring, but he gave his first subsequent interview to the media queen in November 2010. In a moving exchange, an emotional Martin recounted how he ‘cried like a baby’ when he made the announcement. “I felt that I could finally say, ‘I love myself completely’,” he told Oprah. The audience was in tears.

8. Oprah John of God

 John of God

Hundreds if not thousands of people have flocked to the small Brazilian village where this self-proclaimed medium and “psychic surgeon” lives, hoping to be cured of everything from heart disease to cancer. Oprah magazine’s editor in chief, Susan Casey, went because the sudden death of her father had left her reeling and depressed. She found peace in John of God’s teachings, and thanks to her report on him and Oprah’s interview of Casey on the show, he found an audience of millions.

9. Oprah Jennifer Lopez

Jennifer Lopez

She’s visited the show several times, including with her fellow American Idol judges earlier this year, but her most remarkable appearance came in 2004, a year after she and Ben Affleck had broken up. Now married to Marc Anthony, she talked about everything from Bennifer (‘it was a media frenzy and I wasn’t happy’) to her new life: “It was a tough year, but a good year, because I learned so much. I feel like it’s a second act for me.” It was a revealing side to a woman many considered a difficult diva.

10. Oprah Salma Hayek

 Salma Hayek

When she first interviewed the Mexican actress/producer, Oprah said she’d never clicked with an interviewee more. No surprise, then, that Hayek was asked back, in 2007 to talk motherhood. Straightforward but charming, a relaxed Hayek looked amazing six months after giving birth to her daughter and chatted about balancing her daughter Valentina’s strong first name (which means courageous) with a softer middle name (Paloma, which means dove, of course) and being scared to have a daughter. “I remembered how hard it is to be a woman,” she said. “I chickened out and I said, ‘Oh, my God. I hope I get a boy.’ Because I just think they have it easier.”

11. Oprah Fernando Bengoechea

Fernando Bengoechea

Nate Berkus, the show’s designated interior designer, gave a beyond-emotional account of losing his partner, Argentinian interiors photographer Bengoechea in the 2004 tsunami. They were swept away in a wave and had managed to hang on to each other but were separated. Bengoechea’s body was never found. In one of the most heartrending interviews ever on the show, a choked up Berkus told Oprah and a shocked audience “I want to keep saying his name out loud because I think it’s important for everybody who’s lost their life, for their life to be more than that moment of death. His work and his art will live on for everybody who he filmed, for everybody whose life he touched. We get to see him through his work forever.”

12. Oprah Selena’s Family

Selena’s Family

Three years after Selena’s 1995 murder, the tejano singer’s father, mother and sister came on Oprah to talk about the tragedy and the singer’s legacy. Hearing dad Abraham Quintanilla’s self-blame for the tragedy and seeing mom Marcella’s quiet grief makes for a harrowing and almost unwatchable hour.

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