It has been 20 years since Ellen DeGeneres came out publicly as gay, and the chat show host took a moment on The Ellen DeGeneres Show to discuss making the decision, and how it was the "hardest thing that [she] ever had to do". Addressing the audience, she spoke about the moment her sitcom character came out on Ellen (at the same time as Ellen herself). She said: "I appreciate you being here so very much. I'm Ellen and I'm gay. 20 years ago I said that; it was a much bigger deal then… It was the first time a lead character on TV had come out. This was before Will & Grace, and Cam and Mitchell, and Hoda and Kathy Lee."
Ellen spoke about coming out
She continued: "It was the hardest thing that I ever had to do in my life and I would not change one moment of it because it led me to be exactly where I am today – standing in front of all of you, which is a joy. And the fact that all of you and everyone at home is watching me and willing to accept me into your homes every day when no one thought that would ever happen again, it means the world to me."
The popular host recently received the Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honour, and former President Barack Obama praised her for coming out publicly and how it had helped the LGBTQ community. "It's easy to forget now just how much courage was required for Ellen to come out on the most public of stages 20 years ago," he said at the time. "What an incredible burden that was to bear - to risk your career like that - people don't do that very often. And then, to have the hopes of millions on your shoulders."
Ellen celebrated 20 years since publicly coming out