GAYLE KING’s ultimatum to OPRAH backfires – in her face! LEARN WHY!

In a stunning turn of events, Oprah Winfrey is leaving behind her best girlfriend Gayle King and taking longtime boyfriend STEDMAN GRAHAM with her when she moves to California after her talk show ends.

The surprising choice is now threatening to destroy the women’s once unbreakable bond.

Oprah’s love trian­gle exploded during a recent meeting in Chicago during which she told Gayle point-blank that Stedman – and not her – would be mov­ing into the talk-show queen’s sprawling es­tate in Montecito and another residence in Los Angeles near the stu­dios of her Oprah Winfrey Network.

A close source revealed: “Gayle flipped and yelled, ‘What about me?! You’ve got to choose – it’s Stedman or me!’ Oprah coolly shrugged her shoulders and told Gayle to deal with it. Then she walked away.

“Gayle is devastated that Oprah has dumped her in favor of Stedman.”

After 25 years of hosting “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in Chicago, the talk-show queen is leaving the Windy City and moving to Los Angeles to devote herself full time to OWN, which has been struggling since it launched on Jan. 1.

Originally, the 57-year-old billionaire intended to ditch Stedman in favor of Gayle. The two women were planning to live at Oprah’s 42-acre Montecito residence while they focused on growing the network. They had even dis­cussed building another home together.

Last year Oprah moved Stedman – her boyfriend of more than two decades – out of her Chicago condo. Oprah later made plans to move to a luxury condo in L.A. to start the next chapter of her life and she was intent on taking Gayle, not Stedman.But those plans have changed, says the insider.

“With Oprah and Gayle, Stedman was always the one who felt like the third wheel. Now there’s been a role reversal.

“Stedman has patiently stood by Oprah – he’s her rock. With her professional life in transition, Oprah feels she needs Stedman more than ever.”

Friends for more than 30 years, Oprah and Gayle, 56, have been the target of persistent gay rumors since 1997. The pair have been so close that they often slept in the same bed, and Oprah told “O” in 2006 that she understood why people believed they were lesbian lovers.

“There isn’t a definition in our culture of this kind of bond between women,” Oprah said. “So I get why people have to label it.”

Oprah has lovingly re­ferred to Gayle as “the mother I never had. She is the sister everybody would want. She is the friend that everybody deserves. I don’t know a better person.”

But in the past year, the relationship started showing signs of cracks. At a meeting last summer, as revealed in The ENQUIRER, Gayle was devastated when Oprah cal­lously dismissed her ideas about OWN, screaming at her: “I’m the boss!”

Meanwhile, in recent months, Stedman has taken a more prominent, day-to-day role in Oprah’s life..

Oprah’s stunning about-face regarding the move to California is the most signifi­cant sign that Gayle is no longer the most important person in her life.

“Gayle feels abandoned,” continued the source. “She never thought this day would come.

“But now the love triangle has exploded. Stedman holds the upper hand in his rivalry with Gayle.

“Oprah has stabbed a knife through her heart.”