Ellen DeGeneres reveals dark trauma, says she’s ‘furious’ and should have been ‘protected’

Recently, Ellen DeGeneres revealed a dark family secret, hoping her unreserved admission will help others experiencing the same.

The comedian says she wishes she was protected as a vulnerable youngster and is “furious at people who don’t believe.”

Keep reading to learn more about the talk show host’s trauma…

Louisiana-born Ellen DeGeneres took the spotlight in the late 1970s, hurdling over the bumps that got in her way.

The talk show host got her big break in 1986 when she performed a stand-up routine on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, which led to more appearances on late-night shows, back-to-back club bookings and roles on TV series.

From 1989 to 1990, the funnywoman, now 66, landed her first regular small-screen gig as a cast member on the short-lived sitcom Open House and in 1994 she became the star of the comedy series These Friends of Mine, later renamed Ellen.

“I was laughing out loud when I read the script. I knew what I could do with it,” the popular awards show host told the New York Times  in 1994. “I wanted a show that everybody talks about the next day.”

Conversation starter

Everybody did talk the next day, and every day after. In fact, the conversation was heightened when she came out as a lesbian on Ellen, and in real life.

The show was canceled in 1998 and though she was devastated to see it come to an end, she revealed the same year she was in a relationship with actor Anne Heche.

“I saw the most ravishing woman I had ever seen in my life standing across the room. Her name was Ellen DeGeneres. She was radiating,” Heche said of her first meeting with the comedian. “I think at certain times in people’s lives, you just radiate an energy and a glow of fabulousness. And that was her!”

The couple ended their relationship in 2000 and shortly after, Heche detailed some dark secrets in her past.

In a 2001 interview with Barbara Walters, Heche revealed she was sexually abused by her father, which started when she was only a toddler.

“He raped me,” said the award-winning actor who, in August 2022, died at 53 after a horrific car crash.

“I think it’s always hard for children to talk about abuse because it is only memory. I didn’t carry around a tape recorder…I didn’t chisel anything in stone,” the star of Wag the Dog said. “Anyone can look and say, ‘well, how do you know for sure?’ And that’s one of the most painful things about it. You don’t.”

Heche wasn’t the only one to experience trauma and the following doubt after her confession.



‘Furious at people’

“As a victim of sexual abuse, I am furious at people who don’t believe it and who say, ‘How do you not remember exactly what day it was?’” DeGeneres told Today’s Savannah Guthrie in 2018. “You don’t remember those things. What you remember is what happened to you, where you were and how you feel. That’s what you remember.”

The woman previously opened up about her experience when speaking with Busy Phillips on an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show (2003 to 2022).

Credit: Shutterstock

Phillips, a TV and film star, shared she was sexually assaulted when she was only 14.

Responding to Phillip’s admission, DeGeneres said, “I was 15 and I had something happen to me…anyone who has had something happen to them, you just get so angry when someone doesn’t believe you or says, ‘Why did you wait so long?’” She continues, “It’s because we’re girls and we’re taught not to say anything and go along with it.”

At the time, DeGeneres – a vegan and animal activist – only spoke briefly about her experience but one year later, she opened up about the “very bad man.”

Speaking with David Letterman for an episode of his Netflix show, My Next Guess Needs No Introduction, DeGeneres – married to actor Portia de Rossi since 2008 – explained the abuse started when she was about 15 or 16.

She said her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy, and her former stepfather used the information to sexually assault her.

“He told me when she was out of town that he’d felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breasts,” a tearful woman told Letterman. “He convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time.”

DeGeneres initially kept the assaults hidden from her mother and when she finally mustered the courage to share her truth, her mom refused to believe what she was saying.

“I should never have protected her. I should have protected myself and I didn’t tell her for a few years and then I told her,” she said of her mom, who stayed married to the monster for another 18 years. “…she didn’t believe me…And finally left him because he’d changed the story so many times.”

Speaking of her lifelong trauma, DeGeneres – who’s continued to care for her mom over the years – adds, “I didn’t really let it get to me. Until recently, I kind of went, ‘I wish I would have been better taken care of. I wish she would have believed me.’ And she’s apologetic, but, you know.”

We hope DeGeneres, and all the other outspoken people, serve as inspiration to those who remain silent.

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