On Thursday, May 13, The Ellen DeGeneres Show host sat down for an in-depth interview with Today's Savannah Guthrie following the announcement that her show is coming to an end. When asked what emotions she's currently feeling, DeGeneres shared, "It's everything. You know, I think I got choked up saying this has been the best experience of my life. Because it has been."
The Ellen DeGeneres Show was previously embroiled in controversy after numerous reports of workplace misconduct emerged last summer. DeGeneres was never accused of wrongdoing, but she vowed to make improvements to the work environment in a letter written to staff in August.
"As we've grown exponentially, I've not been able to stay on top of everything and relied on others to do their jobs as they knew I'd want them done. Clearly some didn't," she shared. "That will now change and I'm committed to ensuring this does not happen again."
During her sit-down with Guthrie, DeGeneres addressed whether her daytime departure had anything to do with the allegations.
"If it was why I was quitting, I would have not come back this year," she said. "I really did think about not coming back. Because it did...you know, I mean, it was devastating. I am a kind person. I am a person who likes to make people happy."
DeGeneres noted that she "kept saying" to wife Portia de Rossi, "I was like, if I was a fan of somebody, and even if I loved them, I would think there must be some truth to it. Because it is not stopping. And then right on the heels of that, I hear...I read in the press that there is a toxic work environment. Which, I mean, I had no idea. Never saw anything that would even point to that."
DeGeneres' conversation with Guthrie came on the heels of the announcement that The Ellen DeGeneres Show will come to its conclusion after 19 seasons in spring 2022. The talk show host confirmed her departure in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, explaining, "When you're a creative person, you constantly need to be challenged – and as great as this show is, and as fun as it is, it's just not a challenge anymore."
"I was going to stop after season 16. That was going to be my last season and they wanted to sign for four more years and I said I'd sign for maybe for one," she told the outlet. "They were saying there was no way to sign for one. 'We can't do that with the affiliates and the stations need more of a commitment.' So, we [settled] on three more years and I knew that would be my last. That's been the plan all along. And everybody kept saying, even when I signed, 'You know, that's going to be 19, don't you want to just go to 20? It's a good number.' So is 19."
She additionally addressed the news in Thursday's episode of The Ellen Show, joking that she knew it was time to say goodbye after getting a sign. She quipped, "Recently, I had a dream that a beautiful bird with bright red feathers came to my window and whispered, ‘You can still do stuff on Netflix.'"
The show returned for its 18th season in September, with Stephen "Twitch" Boss serving as a guest host in DeGeneres' absence.
(E! and NBC are both members of the NBCUniversal family.)