ellen-degeneres
Ellen DeGeneres | Biography 2021

Quick Information

  • Full Name Ellen DeGeneres
  • Occupation Comedian, Actress, Producer, Writer
  • Nationality America
  • Birthplace Louisiana, USA
  • Birth Date Jan 26, 1958
  • Age 63 Years, 7 Months
  • Sexual Orientation Lesbian
Host of the American Variety Daytime Comedy Talk Show, 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show'

Ellen DeGeneres | Biography 2021

Wife of Actress Portia de Rossi

On 12 May 2021, DeGeneres announced that she would end her long-running TV talk show in 2022 after completing the upcoming 19th season. She said, "I don't intend on retiring. I want to do other things but if I never do another thing in my life, this has been the thing I'm most proud of, you know, to do something for 19 years, especially something that nobody thought would happen or give a chance. I had to fight really hard to get this show so it's just something I'm really proud of, something I'm really emotional about."


Ellen DeGeneres is an ‘Emmy Award-winning’ talk show host best known for her daytime syndicated talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She rose to fame in 1982 after being named ‘Funniest Person in America’ and again in 1997 when she came out as a lesbian.

Who is Ellen DeGeneres?

Ellen DeGeneres began her career in stand-up comedy at local clubs and coffeehouses. After Showtime noticed her quirky and naive jokes, she entered the television show and won Showtime’s ‘Funniest Person in America’ contest in 1982. Her big break came in 1986 when she became the first woman invited on Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show. 

Before launching her stand-up comedy specials Ellen DeGeneres: The Beginning (2001) and Ellen DeGeneres: Here and Now (2003), DeGeneres starred as Ellen Morgan in the romantic comedy sitcom Ellen. She came to prominence when she came out as a lesbian in 1997. 

In 2003, she voiced Dory in the popular animated film Finding Nemo and later reprised in its 2016 sequel, Finding Dory.

DeGeneres launched The Ellen DeGeneres Show in the fall of 2003. The show has won a slew of 64 ‘Daytime Emmy Awards since its inception. The show celebrated its 3000th episode on 29 April 2021.

Early Life and Education

Ellen Lee DeGeneres was born in Metairie (New Orleans), Louisiana, the United States, on 26 January 1958, to a mother, Betty DeGeneres, a speech therapist, and father Elliott Everett DeGeneres, an insurance agent.

DeGeneres has an elder brother, Vance DeGeneres, who became a musician and producer when he grew up. Born in a family of multiple ethnic backgrounds of French, English, Irish, German, distant Dutch, and Swiss-German descent, DeGeneres was raised as a Christian Scientist until age 13, when her parents divorced. Shortly after the divorce, her mother remarried a salesman Roy Gruessendorf and relocated to Atlanta, Texas, with him.

After graduating from Atlanta High School in 1976, she returned to New Orleans and attended the University of New Orleans, taking communication as her major. But she dropped out in one semester after she was dissatisfied with University life. She then took up clerical work in a law firm. Later, she worked as a waitress, bartender, house painter, hostess, and oyster shucker.

Sexually Abused

In May 2019, Netflix released Ellen DeGeneres’ interview with David Letterman on My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. During the interview, she confessed to being sexually molested by her stepfather as a teenager. Her mother, Betty DeGeneres, later apologized profusely for not believing her at that time. AIn addition, she praised her daughter for coming forward and revealing the incident.

“I know now that one of the hardest things to do is speak up after being sexually abused,” Betty shared with NBC Today.

 “I love my daughter, and I wish I had the capacity to listen to her when she told me what happened. I live with that regret, and I wouldn’t want that for any other parent. If someone in your life has the courage to speak out, please believe them,” she added.

Getting into Stand-Up Career

DeGeneres initially began humor as a medium to cope with the difficult situation of life to make her mother happy when she had a hard time after divorce. “My mother was going through some really hard times and I could see when she was really getting down, and I would start to make fun of her dancing,” DeGeneres said and added, “Then she’d start to laugh and I’d make fun of her laughing. And she’d laugh so hard she’d start to cry, and then I’d make fun of that. So I would totally bring her from where I’d seen her start going into depression to all the way out of it.”

Back then, DeGeneres used to put together comedy routines for a group of friends. Then, upon the constant encouragement and recommendation from the close circle, she started performing in small clubs and coffeehouses in the late 1970s. After her acts went well, DeGeneres made her way to Clyde’s Comedy Club in New Orleans by 1981. She then traveled throughout the United States on the comedy club circuit. Her quirky, naive jokes, along with her loose-limbed gestures, soon earned applause and grabbed the attention of the American premium television network Showtime. As a result, a video of her stand-up routine won Showtime’s ‘Funniest Person in America’ title in 1982. The title brought her both criticism and high expectations. But it also became her springboard to stardom.

DeGeneres’ big break came in 1986 when she was invited to Johnny Carson’s The Tonight Show. It was her first TV appearance, first stand-up comedy on TV, and first TV interview with the celebrated TV host Johnny Carson. Moreover, she was the only woman Carson ever invited on the show. 

Later, she began appearing regularly on the talk show circuit, including The Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Oprah Winfrey Show, and Good Morning, America. In 1991, DeGeneres won the ‘American Comedy Award’ for ‘Funniest Female Stand-Up Comic.’ 

In 2000, she did her solo HBO special Ellen DeGeneres: The Beginning. The comedy special won her the ‘American Comedy Award’ for ‘Funniest Female Performer in a TV Special (Leading or Supporting) Network, Cable or Syndication’ in 2001.

In 2003, she made her second HBO special, a stand-up comedy routine Ellen DeGeneres: Here and Now, for which she received two ‘Emmy Award’ nominations.

In May 2017, DeGeneres announced that she had been writing for the new stand-up special for Netflix. The stand-up special titled Ellen DeGeneres: Relatable was later premiered on 18 December 2018.

TV Series: ‘Ellen’ and Coming Out

After appearing in several short-lived TV series such as Duet (1989), Open House (1989-1990), and Laurie Hill (1992), DeGeneres launched and starred in the lead role of Ellen Morgan in the romantic comedy sitcom Ellen in 1994. The sitcom was originally titled These Friends of Mine in the first season.

In 1997, she revealed that she was lesbian on the Oprah Winfrey Show, and her show Ellen became the first prime-time show to feature a lesbian lead character. 

“I never wanted to be the lesbian actress. I never wanted to be the spokesperson for the gay community. Ever. I did it for my own truth,” DeGeneres said in an interview.

The landmark episode showed her character Ellen Morgan open up about her sexuality to a therapist played by Oprah Winfrey. Later, the episode won the show the ‘Emmy Award’ for ‘Best Writing in a Comedy Series.’ DeGeneres was also named the ‘Entertainer of the Year’ in 1997 by Entertainment Weekly. The show then continued to focus on LGBT issues in the following seasons. However, the show was subsequently canceled in 1988 because of the low rating in the fifth season. 

Movies

DeGeneres made her big-screen debut in the 1993 comedy sci-fi film Coneheads. In 1996, she starred in the dark comedy movie Mr. Wrong, portraying a lonely single woman searching for the perfect man to date. DeGeneres later appeared in the 1998 comic crime-mystery film Goodbye Lover, the 1999 satirical comedy film EDtv, and the 1999 romantic comedy film The Love Letter. In 2000, she shared a much-publicized lesbian love scene with Sharon Stone in the TV movie If These Walls Could Talk 2. The following year, she portrayed the role of an operator in the film Reaching Normal. 

Voice Acting

DeGeneres has also lent her voice for several animated and video game characters. In 1996, she voiced The Octopus Lady in the video game 9. DeGeneres also voiced Prologue Dog in the fantasy-comedy film Doctor Dolittle in 1998. In 2003, she voiced forgetful but loveable little blue fish named Dory in the animated box office smash Finding Nemo, for which she won the ‘Saturn Award’ for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ and the ‘Annie Award’ for ‘Outstanding Voice Acting in an Animated Feature Production’ in 2004. She reprised her voice to its 2016 sequel, Finding Dory, and it won her the ‘OFTA Film Award’ for ‘Best Voice-Over Performance’ and the ‘People’s Choice Award’ for ‘Favorite Animated Movie Voice’ in 2017.

‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’

After Ellen ended in 1998, DeGeneres eventually moved to the daytime arena and launched her self-titled syndicated talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2003. The show has won more than 64 ‘Daytime Emmy Awards’ in multiple categories. 

On 12 May 2021, DeGeneres announced that she would end her long-running TV talk show in 2022 after completing the upcoming 19th season. She shared, “I don’t intend on retiring. I want to do other things but if I never do another thing in my life, this has been the thing I’m most proud of, you know, to do something for 19 years, especially something that nobody thought would happen or give me a chance. I had to fight really hard to get this show so it’s just something I’m really proud of, something I’m really emotional about.” 

Revealing about her plans, she shared, “I’m opening up my campus in Rwanda next year, and I want to be more involved with conservation and everything that matters to me as far as the environment and animals.”

Personal Life

After she came out as a lesbian in 1997, she started dating actress Anne Heche the same year. However, their relationship lasted only for a few years, and they split on 16 August 2000. She then dated photographer-director Alexandra Hedison for four years, from 2000 to 2004. After ending her relationship with Hedison, she started dating actress Portia de Rossi in 2004. The couple tied the knot on 16 August 2008 at their Beverly Hills home in California.

Marriage 

Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres initially met at a party in 2000, and in January 2005, they debuted their appearance as a couple at the HBO Golden Globe Awards Party. In an interview with The Advocate later that year, de Rossi discussed what it was like to be a lesbian in Hollywood.

“Believe me, I had a very, very long and tough struggle with my sexuality,” she stated as she revealed her sexuality and her connection with DeGeneres for the first time.

Similarly, de Rossi told Oprah Winfrey, an American talk-show host, during their (DeGeneres and de Rossi’s) first joint interview in 2009 that she fell in love at first sight with DeGeneres in a party. de Rossi then added that she wasn’t out yet as a gay woman yet and it took her three years to tell DeGeneres. 

Tying the Knot after Historical Decision 

The couple tied the nuptials in 2008 after the California Supreme Court ruled it legal for same-sex couples to marry in that same year. Motivational speaker Wayne Dyer, who officiated their ceremony, articulated his share of comments during the event.

“Today we have taken a giant step forward toward the ideal that all of us, with no exceptions, are not only created equal, but we each have the unalienable right to pursue our own happiness.” DeGeneres posted this on her Instagram

de Rossi even legally added DeGeneres to her last name in 2010; however, she still goes by Portia de Rossi professionally. 

Throughout 2013, there were various claims that the pair were having problems, but DeGeneres promptly debunked them.

“There isn’t a shred of truth in any of it. I am very happily married. The only thing we ever dispute over indeed is who loves who more,” DeGeneres revealed to People magazine.

Special gift

DeGeneres once referred to the primatologist and conservationist Dian Fossey, who studied mountain gorillas, as her idol. Later, de Rossi appeared on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2018 and surprised DeGeneres with a gorilla sanctuary in celebration of her 60th birthday, which DeGeneres called the best gift ever.

“It’s your 60th birthday, and this gift had to be really special, and it had to represent who you are and what you really care about,” de Rossi shared on the show. “Not just now, but what you’ve always cared about. What you were influenced by and what has made you the amazing person that you are today.” 

The pair celebrated their 10th anniversary the same year on 16 August.

Children

Though DeGeneres and de Rossi have been married for more than a decade, they don’t have any children. In 2015, DeGeneres revealed why she was hesitant to start a family, stating that she did not despise children; instead, the issue was the amount of time required in upbringing.

“I love kids, but that’s such a big commitment,” she revealed to The Today Show in 2015. “It seems long-term. It seems like a commitment that you have to stick with. And I just don’t know if I can — it’s too risky.”

 “Like, what if I don’t like the kid? What if it turns out that it’s not as cute as I wanted or as talented? I’m gonna compare it to all these kids that I have on this show that are so smart and so funny. And I’m like, ‘You are nowhere near these kids I had on today,’” DeGeneres added her humor to why she was skeptical when it came to having children.

Wife’s Support

Several current and former employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show accused DeGeneres of creating a toxic workplace culture around 2020. Following these complaints, Variety reported in July that DeGeneres’ show was under internal inspection by WarnerMedia, the show’s parent company. However, despite the controversies, de Rossi openly expressed her support for her wife. She took it to her Instagram in August of the same year and captioned her post with “I Stand By Ellen.”

Her caption on the photo read, “To all our fans .... we see you. Thank you for your support. #stopbotattacks.”

A few other public figures, including Katy Perry and Ashton Kutcher, shared their messages defending DeGeneres and her character.

House

DeGeneres is well known for frequently buying and selling her property. She purchased a Hollywood Hills property for $6 million in 2003, and three years later, she sold the home to Will Ferrell for $9 million. Then, DeGeneres paid $1.275 million for a midcentury-style Hollywood Hills property nicknamed ‘The Tree House’ in 2004. She sold the home for $2.1 million to late actor Heath Ledger a year later.

Subsequently, DeGeneres and de Rossi bought a mansion in Montecito, California, for $15.75 million in 2007 and sold it for $20 million the following year. They also paid $29 million for a huge area property in 2008 and even bought two nearby properties to include in their estate business. Then they sold the property to Ryan Seacrest for $37 million in 2012. Additionally, in 2011, the couple bought Brad Pitt’s prior Malibu home for $12 million and sold it for $13 million a year later. They also made their consecutive purchase of The Skouras mansion, created by architect Hal Levitt that cost $17.4 million. The couple sold it for $20 million in 2013.

In 2013, DeGeneres and De Rossi purchased a Wallace Frost-designed Montecito mansion for $26.5 million. They sold the property for $34 million five years later. Likewise, they paid nearly $40 million for a Holmby Hills home engineered by A. Quincy Jones in 2014 and sold it for $55 million about six months later. In 2014, the couple purchased another property, a Beverly Hills Villa, for around $16 million. The pair later sold the villa for $35 million three years later. Similarly, In 2017, they added Rancho San Leandro, a historic property in Montecito, to their portfolio of residences. They bought it for $7.2 million and sold it for $11 million to Tinder founder Sean Rad just under a year later.

In 2018, they paid $15 million for a Hollywood Regency–style estate in Beverly Hills created by architect John Elgin Woolf. With a $15.5 million sale, they dropped this home the same year. They later paid $6.7 million for a Santa Barbara property. They eventually sold that property for $6.98 million to the president of Nickelodeon, Brian Robbins. Similarly, they bought the Salt Hill house, a $27 million Balinese-style Montecito property, in early 2019 and sold it for $33.3 million the following year.

DeGeneres and De Rossi bought their Tudor-style property for $45 million in May of 2019 and managed to sell it by March of 2021. In 2020, the pair paid $3.6 million for another Tudor style home in Montecito, California, and then sold it to Ariana Grande for nearly twice that much in June of the same year. Subsequently, they paid $49 million for a four-acre property in Montecito with various buildings in September of that same year. 

Books

DeGeneres has authored a few books, namely, ‘My Point-- and I Do Have One released in 1996, followed by ‘The Funny Thing Is... ‘in 2003, ‘Seriously... I’m Kidding’ in 2013, and ‘Home' in 2015.

Net worth

As per Celebritynetworth, DeGeneres’ estimated net worth is $500 million. Meanwhile, Forbes estimated DeGeneres’ net worth to be $370 million as of 2020. In addition to that, Forbes published a report in May 2021 stated that the talk show host made more than $50 million per year from her The Ellen DeGeneres Show

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