Ellen DeGeneres On Coming Out: ‘I Didn’t Think I Was Going To’

Ellen DeGeneres has opened up about her decision to come out as gay on the latest episode of Oprah Winfrey’s Master Class TV show. Master Class debuted its fifth season on Sunday on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). As People reports, the upcoming season will include lessons from Dwayne Johnson and Patti Labelle, but Ellen DeGeneres kicked off the season.

Ellen DeGeneres famously came out as gay in 1997 on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. In an example of art imitating life, Ellen’s TV character subsequently came out as gay, and her therapist was played by Oprah Winfrey. While being gay has now become widely acceptable — especially in the TV and film industry — the announcement by Ellen DeGeneres took a lot of courage at a time when it was not accepted. Although she has been open and honest about her decision before, her appearance on Master Class delved deeper into what it took for her to make her announcement.

Oprah Winfrey went on The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Friday to promote this episode of Master Class. The two powerhouses of daytime television talked about life and what the story behind Ellen DeGeneres’ coming out meant. Washington’s Top News describes how in one part of the Master Class episode, Ellen DeGeneres spoke about just how hard it was for her to come out.

“I didn’t think I was going to come out, period,” Ellen DeGeneres said.

Ellen DeGeneres eventually made the decision to come out after going on a retreat and taking a class that focused on changing the inner dialogue of her subconscious mind. After realizing that her fear was that no one would love her or allow her to be famous once they knew she was gay, Ellen DeGeneres realized that the shame she was feeling was making her pretend to be someone she wasn’t.


This honest admission had a profound effect on Oprah Winfrey. While on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Oprah admitted she never understood the struggle Ellen DeGeneres underwent to come out to the public and what her legacy should be.

“You know what I didn’t know — and I was surprised at myself because I’m pretty empathetic as a person — but I really didn’t realize until I saw that Master Class how hard it was for you to say, ‘I’m gay.’ The real work that you’ve done on the planet will be teaching people how to live authentically as themselves.”

On Master Class, Ellen DeGeneres continued to allude to the tough times that she has gone through and how that has made her a better, more compassionate person. She quite bluntly states that she still “don’t know nothing.”

While Ellen DeGeneres may feel like she still doesn’t have the answers, it’s evident to her viewers that her compassion is something to be celebrated. Indeed, Ellen DeGeneres’s life appears to be full of the right answers. At the moment, successes seem abundant in her life. Ellen DeGeneres has been married to Portia de Rossi for over five years, her talk show has won over 40 Emmy Awards for moments like this, and Ellen DeGeneres is now showcasing her design talents. She has a home goods line on QVC, a clothing line — ED by Ellen — and a new decorating book, Home.

Ellen DeGeneres has certainly gone through some tough times, as she freely admits on her Master Class episode, but those times have only made her stronger. Ellen DeGeneres continues to be a leader in daytime talk shows and is now showcasing her love of design.

Ellen DeGeneres did showcase her lighter side on the episode, too. In explaining how she got into the comedy business, she told Oprah Winfrey that someone dared her to eat a cheeseburger on stage. She did, and the bit got her noticed for more work. Today, her lighter side is often displayed through all of her work, including a guest appearance Ellen DeGeneres made on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon to play “Lip Sync Battle.”

Ellen DeGeneres may have worried that coming out as gay would make people love her less, but if anything, her honesty has made people love her more.

[Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images]