Ellen DeGeneres: After Coming Out As Gay, Ellen Gained ‘The Confidence To Be Authentic’

Ellen DeGeneres opened up to OUT Magazine to discuss her life before the Ellen DeGeneres Show. The beloved talk show host was named “Entertainer Of The Year” by OUT Magazine. Ellen, 58, revealed the many struggles she faced after coming out as a lesbian in 1997. During a particularly difficult time, Ellen says she hit “rock bottom” and was broke. Before NBC picked up her talk show, Ellen faced a ton of rejection. After coming out as gay to Oprah Winfrey on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997, her popular sitcom Ellen was canceled by ABC in 1998.

ellen degeneres coming out lesbian
Ellen DeGeneres in 2003. [Image by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]

In the earlier stages of her career, the TV personality laughed off jokes about her sexuality. It wasn’t until later that Ellen realized the mean nature that was carried within some of those jokes.

“I was the punch line of lots of jokes… I laughed at some, but I realized there’s somebody on the other side of them. It’s cruel. I’ve never liked mean comedy, but that became even more important to me after I was the brunt of it.”

Before The Ellen DeGeneres Show was picked up, Ellen told OUT Magazine she faced a dark period in her life and battled many personal insecurities.

“Before this show, I had a lot of insecurity… I wasn’t sure if I was going to work again, and although I was out, I was still trying to alter myself — not dressing the way I wanted to dress or wearing my hair the way I wanted to. I slowly gained the confidence to be authentic, and what I’ve learned about other people is that they strive to be authentic, too. So whether they fully support me, love my lifestyle or love that I’m married to a woman, I think they like that authenticity, and they’re drawn to it.”

Portia De Rossi reunited with the cast of Arrested Development on Inside The Actors Studio. When host James Lipton asked de Rossi about her marriage to Ellen, Portia revealed she had anxiety about coming out as a lesbian in Hollywood. After overcoming said matters, Ellen and Portia married in 2008.

ellen degeneres coming out
[Image by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for The People's Choice Awards]

“I think when I really, truly came out was the Golden Globes when Arrested Development was nominated [in 2004]… Ellen and I had been together for a month and I was very, very nervous going to that because I knew that I was going to meet up with her after the show and that there was press. And that was the first time that we actually stepped out together as a couple, but for me, it was the first time I stepped out as a gay woman, really.”

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is currently in Season 14 and has produced a ton of viral moments between Ellen and celebs. The talk show has won 35 Daytime Emmy Awards, nine of which have been for “Outstanding Talk Show.” Four of those Emmy’s went to its host, Ellen.

Welcome to Instagram, @KanyeWest! We were NOT on here looking at your wife.

A photo posted by Ellen (@theellenshow) on

The Ellen DeGeneres Show is a huge platform for Ellen to share her opinions. This was demonstrated in an October 14 interview with Hillary Clinton. DeGeneres said watching the debates was like watching Clinton “debating with a teenager.”

Tomorrow – the tape, the debate – @HillaryClinton is talking to me about it all.

A photo posted by Ellen (@theellenshow) on

“Even my agent said, ‘I’ve never seen you be so partisan… I’m not really a political person, but when somebody’s acting like an entitled, lying brat, and you know he’s hurt a lot of people, it’s easy to see what kind of human being he is.”

DeGeneres is happy to uplift other like-minded LGBT personalities like Tyler Oakley whom she says is, “a positive influencer.” In September, Tyler was given his own talk show on Ellentube, DeGeneres’s online video site, according to OUT Magazine.

“If this isn’t an example of ‘It gets better,’ I don’t know what is… Time is a strange thing. I was at rock bottom and out of money, with no work in sight, but one step at a time, it gets better. It gets much better than better.”

[Featured Image by Scott Barbour/Stringer/Getty Images]