Yes, I think the answer changes dramatically if you think that the OP means 'a distro which is, in principle, simple and sort of pure linux' (Slackware, LFS, and pixel's favourite, Arch would be candidates...but I particularly wouldn't suggest LFS for a beginner, but it really, really does force
you to learn, rather than just encourage learning)
In the opposite camp, and what most newbies are looking for, is something that is easy to use (the Ubuntus, Mepis, Mint) and easy to get started with, but may be frustrating after a while.
The second category tends to do stuff 'automagically', behind the scenes, and that, when it works, can make life a lot easier. OTOH, when you have to fight it to get what you want, the automisation will seem like less of a bargain.
(You might also consider a third category...the do everything, be all things to all men, distros, such as Debian, Fedora, OpenSuSE...but then you might consider them hopelessly compromised and not focussed enough.)
I'm afraid that this is a choice, and everyone has to strike a balance for themselves. The good news is that you could choose an easy to use distro now, and move on to something more hands-on later.
And a point raised by johnsfine:
I also think the KDE desktop is easier to learn and use than Gnome or other desktops.
Probably selecting a desktop is the first thing to do (and then use a distro that offers your choice of desktop). Ex-windows users tend to adapt more easily to kde than gnome (which are the two heavyweights in the field). XFCE, LXDE and Enlightenment might also be worth considering, depending on your preferences.
Ideally, grab a certain number of Live CDs (more than one, not more than half a dozen) and see what takes your fancy. Install that and see how you get on.