Ellen DeGeneres: What You Didn’t Know
Her baby blue eyes are full of mirth, humility and kindness. They gently sparkle with a twinkle that’s unfading and infinite, almost child-like. Her existence radiates light itself, her presence teems with life. Even at 60, she’s just as magical as she was at 20. Yes, I’m describing Ellen DeGeneres.
We all know Ellen DeGeneres as an inspirational, beautiful and kind-hearted angel of a human being. She’s also a hilarious stand-up comedian and talk show host. If you’re familiar with ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’, you’d know about the kind of things she has done for us. Selflessly, she has donated to countless charities, helped hundreds of people in need, and changed millions of lives.
However, Ellen’s past was a very different time; a dark one. Long back, she went through a lot of struggles and hardships before she became who she is today. It’s no secret that Ellen DeGeneres identifies as gay or homosexual. Coming out was obviously not easy for her, especially since it was 20 years ago. At that time, homosexuality was widely looked down upon, especially by religious groups. It wasn’t something that was accepted by the society as a whole. It was considered odd and blasphemous. People would even get offended by it.
Yet, despite that, Ellen DeGeneres still managed to summon the courage to publicly declare that she was gay. In 1996, she began negotiating with ABC to have her character Morgan come out on her TV sitcom, ‘Ellen’. They risked facing backlash from their audience, even receiving threats from advertisers. Regardless, they successfully pulled it off in what came to be known as “The Puppy Episode”. The episode originally aired on ABC on April 30, 1997. It attained amazing ratings, won numerous awards and became a cultural sensation.
Unfortunately, it didn’t last. Pretty soon, DeGeneres and her show started getting criticism for being “too gay”. The series had to be cancelled after one more season. Moreover, after Ellen first came out as gay, she couldn’t get a job for 3 years. It was almost as if nobody wanted anything to do with her. She said she suffered a lot during those years.
But being the strong, empowering woman that she is, she obviously managed to recover. Soon, she would write an HBO special and start her own brand new show. It would go on to become immensely successful and we would come to know it as ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’. She would also find the woman of her dreams, Portia de Rossi, and even marry her.
Talking about women she has dated, Ellen once lost a former girlfriend to a tragic car accident. She said it was the worst loss she ever had to face. At the time this happened, Ellen wasn’t on good terms with the girl. She had planned to make things up with her but she didn’t realize she’d run out of time. Her unfortunate death put Ellen through a lot of misery and pain.
Ellen opened up publicly about the incident years ago, in the Emmy-nominated series, ‘Oprah’s Master Class’. As she recalled the tragedy, her eyes unmistakably brimmed with tears of aching agony. It’s heartbreaking to watch her talk about it. Eventually though, as she said, she was able to forgive herself for her regrets and move past it. Not only that but over time, she rose high above all limits.
Undoubtedly, the strength that Ellen DeGeneres possesses is undeniable. Sometimes, after a tragic event, people may tend to cope in unhealthy ways. However, Ellen managed to make something extraordinary out of it. Over the years, she emerged as one of the most respected and adored human being on the planet. She remains optimistic and devoted to helping others to this day. I’m grateful that we have someone like her in our world, where it’s most needed.