NEW YORK (CBS/AP) – Oprah Winfrey says she’s not a lesbian.

Her long personal and professional relationship with Gayle King has sparked rumors that they are gay, but Winfrey denies it in an upcoming interview with ABC’s Barbara Walters.

gayle king Oprah Winfrey: Im Not Gay

Photo Of Gayle King. (Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Persistent gossip that they are more than good friends annoys Winfrey, she says, explaining that if it were true, “Why would you want to hide it?”

“She’s the mother I never had. She’s the sister everybody would want. She’s the friend everybody deserves. I don’t know a better person,” Winfrey, holding back tears, tells Walters of King.

When Walters asks her about the tears, she responds, “It’s making me cry because I’m thinking about – I probably never told her that.”

Winfrey long has made Chicago her home base. Her daily talk show has been recorded in Chicago for 25 years and wraps up taping in May.

Winfrey will end her daytime talk show next spring and, on Jan. 1, will launch a cable channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

That new venture has given her moments of fright.

She tells Walters: “I would wake up in the middle of the night literally like clutching my chest, like, ‘What have I done?”‘

The interview will air Thursday at 8 p.m. CT.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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