As Ellen DeGeneres winds down the 19th and final season of her eponymous chat show, she invited her wife, actress Portia De Rossi, as a guest for a surprisingly candid conversation about their relationship and the show which has been a mainstay in both of their lives.

“It’s weird to interview her,” DeGeneres, 64, admitted to the audience, “because I know everything about her, so this is silly.”

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“You came into my life on the second season of this show. We’ve been together for 17 years…This show ending is actually a big thing for both of us, because you’ve watched me go through everything with this show,” DeGeneres told De Rossi, 49, at the top of the interview.

‘Can’t Believe It’s Nearly Over’

“I can’t believe it’s nearly over. It’s just crazy. It’s been such a huge part of our lives.” Portia said.

“Everyone is asking me what I’m going to do next and giving me advice on what to do next and I’ve never point-blank asked you what I should do next,” Ellen said.

“I just want you to do something that makes you really happy,” De Rossi replied, “but I want to make sure that you continue being a teacher, because that’s really what you’ve been for everybody…More than ever, we need love and light and laughter, so I hope you continue to do something like stand-up…You’re so good at it.”

Portia also praised Ellen as a trailblazer for LGBTQ entertainers. “I was an actress, and I was closeted. Ellen was kind of like the litmus test for young actors in Hollywood. Her success meant so much to us. It kind of meant, can I be authentic and honest and still be able to pay the rent?” 

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“I remember watching the first episode of this show, standing the entire time; I was alone and I remember saying out loud to the TV, she did it…you could just feel the magic,” De Rossi said. “I just knew that it was going to be around for as long as you wanted it to be.”

Ellen And Portia Discuss Family, Relationship

The couple also discussed how their relationship came to define them, not only in Hollywood but amongst their own family. “You came out just by being with me; that was your outing, being with me outed you as an actress,” DeGeneres told her wife.

The couple’s relationship was also a source of fear for De Rossi when it came to telling her family. “My Grandma meant everything to me, we were actually born on the same day. She was so special to me. She was a huge fan of Ellen. She loved the sitcom…wouldn’t miss an episode until the episode she came out.”

“Now, I know I’m gay at this point and I love my gran, and the minute that Ellen came out she refused to watch the show. In fact, if a commercial for her show came on, she would change the channel and say, ‘that disgusting woman.’”

‘Gran, I’m With Ellen’

While Portia’s grandmother knew she lived with Ellen, the exact nature of the relationship was unknown to her. During a trip home to Australia, Portia  told her grandmother, “‘Gran, I’m with Ellen.’ And she said, ‘Alan? Who’s Alan’? She’s 99 at this point,” De Rossi told the audience. 

Portia clarified that she was with Ellen. “All this time I was worried that lesbian was hitting on my granddaughter,” her grandmother replied.

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“I thought, ‘that’s it, I’ve killed my grandma.’” Portia said. After a long pause her grandmother looked at Portia and said, “Well, I love you just the same.”

“It was a beautiful thing for someone at that age to have such strong feelings, and then just say, ‘I love you just the same,’” said Ellen.

Portia’s grandmother died at 103 with the wedding photo of Ellen and Portia next to her bed.

The Ellen Show

The Ellen DeGeneres Show premiered in 2003 and to date 3,277 episodes have been produced. The show made DeGeneres one of the world’s highest paid celebrities with Forbes reporting in 2018 that Degeneres earned a whopping $87.5 million that year, making her the 15th-highest-paid celebrity in the world. 

DeGeneres has also been the recipient of a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Mark Twain Prize for American Humour and 32 Emmys.

In a 2018 New York Times profile, DeGeneres said that De Rossi had been encouraging her wife to step away from the intense pressure of doing 180 episodes of The Ellen DeGeneres Show each year.

DeGeneres ultimately decided to step away from her long-running show following a series of highly-publicised allegations of a toxic work environment behind-the-scenes on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

DeGeneres said Portia once told her, “Just remember, the nicer they are, the more they are going to screw you.” Australian-born De Rossi, best known for Arrested Development and Ally McBeal & DeGeneres have been married since 2008.

The final episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show is set to air May 26.

 

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