Popular TV host Ellen DeGeneres has opened up on the reaction she received after she came out as a gay woman on TV in 1997.
Ellen who made history for coming out at a time people were unaccepting of the LGBTQ community as they are now in an interview with Dax Shepard for his Armchair Expert podcast, said she fell into depression after she came out as gay on her sitcom.
In her words;
“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?’ But everybody assumed I was just nonstop talking about. It hurt my feelings.”
Ellen continued revealing her sitcom was canceled by ABC due to sponsors and advertisers deserting her for coming out of the closet. Things however picked up after a while.
Srecallsles: “(ABC) finally let me come out, and it was a huge success the night of. It was huge. It was celebrated.”
Things did not stay rosy for so long as she continued saying;
“People were making fun of me. I was really depressed. And because of that and because the show was canceled, I was looked at as a failure in this business. No one would touch me. I had no agent, I had no possibility of a job, I had nothing.”
On being criticized by some people in the gay community.
“The gay community, it’s a really difficult line to walk. 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.’ And I was like, ‘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’,” she said.
On losing her girlfriend at the age of 20, Ellen said;
“My girlfriend was killed in a car accident when I was like 20 years old. And I wasn’t doing comedy, I think I was probably waitressing someplace at the time. I was living with her when she was killed,” she said.
The comedia continued saying how she moved out the home she shared with her girlfriend into a small basement.
“I was sleeping on a mattress on a floor and it was infested with fleas. And I used to write all the time, I wrote poetry and songs and stuff, and I thought, ‘Why is this beautiful 21-year-old girl just gone and fleas are here?” she said.
“I just thought it would be amazing if we could just pick up the phone and call up God and ask questions and get an answer,” she explained to Shepard.