"Oprah is telling friends, 'I'm tired of living a lie!'" a close source divulged.
"After all these years she's decided that keeping up the pretense that she and Stedman are romantically involved and will one day marry is a fantasy. It will not happen - ever.
"Stedman was a close friend and a great companion for years. But Oprah now admits the relationship was never really going anywhere. Neither of them seriously considered marriage, having children or spending the rest of their lives together.
"That was never in the cards for them, and Oprah has finally gotten around to acknowledging it."
With Stedman gone, 56-year-old Oprah will focus on nurturing her relationship with Gayle, 55, say those close to her.
"Gayle and Oprah plan to spend the rest of their lives with each other," an insider told The ENQUIRER.
"They know that by moving in together they'll fuel rumors that they're in a gay relationship. But they don't care."
Stedman had barely removed his belongings from Oprah's lavish Chicago apartment when Gayle was already settling in, according to insiders.
With her long-running talk show wrapping up next year, Oprah felt this was the ideal time to make a fresh start in her personal life, sources say.
"Oprah won't have to worry about ratings when she quits her show, so she's decided to finally live her life the way she wants to - without Stedman, and with Gayle!" a close friend of the TV titan told The ENQUIRER.
"She wanted to do this a long time ago, but she was worried her fans would turn on her. But she came to realize that if she didn't live her life to the fullest, then what's the point?
"Now, Oprah and Gayle are free to live their lives out in the open - together."