Ellen DeGeneres is known to be a pretty private person. So when she got uncharacteristically honest about her past in a recent episode of Dax Shepard's podcast, it's hard not to cling to every word. In the interview, Ellen opened up about some seriously hard times she went through, before she became the silly, dancing talk show host we all know and love.
Here are some things we learned:
Even Ellen was once all about that broke life.
I was by myself. It's not like I had friends I could afford to put up with me. I wasn't flying private. I was flying commercial all the time and changing planes. I hate flying. I get anxiety when I fly so I couldn't wait to stop touring.
She talked about coming out, and how it led to her show (RIP Ellen) getting canceled.
[It ended] because I came out. This is a long story, but they really didn't want me to come out. I wanted to come out. I said, 'It's my life. I want to come out. I want the character to come out. It's the time.' I said, 'I'm going to lose the career. Like, you can just put another show on. It's my show to lose.' Even though it wasn't my show. They finally let me come out and it was a huge success the night of. It was celebrated...Then, they just stopped promoting it because they were scared.
She also got extremely real about how low this point in her life was:
Everybody assumed I was just nonstop talking about it. It hurt my feelings. I was getting jokes made at my expense on every late-night show. People were making fun of me. I was really depressed. And because of that, and because my show was cancelled, I was looked at as a failure in this business. No one would touch me. I had no agent, no possibility of a job, I had nothing.
Being Ellen in the '90s does not sound easy, y'all. She says even the LGBT community gave her a hard time:
Some people thought, 'You're not gay enough and you're not doing enough for our community and there are so many that have done more.' I didn't say I was your leader and I didn't say I have done more…I just want to be a comedian and I just happen to be gay. Of course, I'm going to speak up. I think I'm doing a lot just by being a physical presence of hopefully a representation, not of the entire gay community, but of someone at home going, 'There's someone who's gay.' It was really tough.
She even spilled some tea on Elton John.
During the time, because there was so much talk about it, everyone was just sick of it. I had only done the cover of Time magazine, a primetime special with Diane Sawyer and Oprah — those were the only three places I talked — people were reporting on reports and reports. Even Elton John said, 'Shut up already. We know you're gay. Be funny.' I had never met him and I thought, 'What kind of support is that from a gay person?'"
Et tu, Elton John??????
And she told this heart wrenching story about losing her ex-girlfriend, who was killed in a car accident:
I was living with her, and when she was killed, I couldn't afford to live where we were living together. So, I moved into this tiny little basement apartment that I was sleeping on a mattress on the floor infested with fleas. I thought, 'Why is this beautiful, 21-year-old girl gone and fleas are here? And I just thought it would be amazing if we could pick up the phone and call up God and ask questions and actually get an answer.
Aww, Ellen. Even in her saddest moments, she's finding the humor in things.
Well gosh, we just love Ellen.