Ellen DeGeneres Talks Abuse

Comedian and talk-show host reveals she was molested by her stepfather as a teen

By Sarah Hall May 18, 2005 5:10 PMTags

Never one to shy away from the public eye, Ellen DeGeneres has come out with a startling new revelation.

In the latest issue of Allure magazine, the talk-show host divulges that she was molested by her stepfather in her late teens.

DeGeneres said her stepfather, who has since passed away, insisted on feeling her breast while her mother was battling breast cancer.

The initial groping, she said, led to "other things," and at one point, her stepfather attempted to break into her bedroom.

"I had to kick a window out and escape and sleep in a hospital all night long," DeGeneres told the magazine.

The comedian said she's coming out with her story because "it's important for teenage girls out there to hear that there are different ways to say no. And if it ever happens to them, they should tell someone right away."

However, DeGeneres denies that the molestation had any effect on her sexual orientation.

"People I've confided in about this before say, 'Oh, that's why you're a lesbian,' " said DeGeneres. "But I was a lesbian way before that. My earliest memories are of being a lesbian."

DeGeneres, whose coming out was featured on a Time magazine cover in 1997, made television history the same year when some 42 million viewers tuned in to watch her character come out of the closet on her now-defunct sitcom Ellen.

The groundbreaking episode went on to win a Peabody Award, but the show was canceled a year later.

Apart from discussing her history of childhood abuse, DeGeneres dished to Allure about her messy breakup with ex-girlfriend Anne Heche. The twosome split in 2000 after three and a half years of very public coupledom.

DeGeneres said she hopes she and current girlfriend Portia de Rossi are "together the rest of our lives."

"I never would have thought my life would have turned out this way," said DeGeneres. "To have money. Or to have a gorgeous girlfriend. I just feel so lucky with everything in my life right now."

Indeed, things do seem to be coming up roses for the comedian lately.

After a brief health scare in March, DeGeneres underwent successful surgery to remove cervical polyps and resumed her hosting duties a few days later, proclaiming herself "fine."

Meanwhile, the Ellen DeGeneres Show is up for 11 Daytime Emmys this year, after taking home the Emmy for Outstanding Talk Show last year in its first season.

The Daytime Emmy Awards will be presented this weekend in a ceremony at Radio City Music Hall.