Ellen DeGeneres has publicly spoken about the man she claims to have sexually abused her as a teenager. Speaking on Netflix’s My Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, the 61-year-old revealed that she was a victim of assault at the hands of her stepfather. While DeGeneres didn’t name her alleged abuser, she did state her family link to him.
In an honest and open reveal, The Ellen Show host cast her mind back to 1973 – the year of the attack. As The Daily Mail reports, DeGeneres was 15 or 16-years-old at the time. Taking that date, the British newspaper places Ellen’s mother Elizabeth “Betty” James as being married to Roy Grussendorf, a Texas salesman died in 1997. Ellen appeared to speak candidly.
“He told me when she was out of town that he’d felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breasts because he didn’t want to upset her, but he needed to feel mine.”
Ellen’s mother is a breast cancer survivor.
Ellen then said that she “didn’t know about bodies,” specifically, not knowing that bodies differ from one another. However, per her claim, her stepfather “convinced” her that he needed to examine her breasts — she then outlined his repeated attempted to do so. The Daily Mail described the acts as “[groping]”.
Violence was also mentioned.
“He tries to break my door down, and I kicked the window out and ran cause I knew it was going to go more to something… and I didn’t want to tell my mother cause I was protecting her and I knew that would ruin her happiness,” Ellen said.
Regarding her ability to fight back, DeGeneres also expressed anger at herself. She reported feeling “weak,” before starting her teenage years. She then called the whole affair a “horrible, horrible story,” adding that she went into the details of her assault to make sure other young girls don’t find themselves in the same situation.
At first, Ellen’s own mother did not believe her daughter’s claims — Betty remained with her husband for 18 years. As Ellen stated, her mother eventually left Grussendorf because he couldn’t keep his stories straight.
For DeGeneres, speaking publicly about her ordeal comes with a reason. Her decision to do so was based on feeling that women do not consider themselves “worthy” – either that, or they’re afraid to “have a voice” or “say no.”
“It is just time for us to have a voice. It’s time for us to have a power,” she said.
Ellen previously spoke about her abuse back in 2005, per CBS.
My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman premieres on Netflix this Friday.