Ellen DeGeneres has spoken out about the hurtful remarks she received after she came out as gay on national television in 1997, and the depression that followed.
In a new interview with actor Dax Shepard for his podcast Armchair Expert, Ellen revealed that one of the most upsetting comments came from openly gay entertainer Elton John.
“Even Elton John said, ‘Shut up already. We know you’re gay. Be funny’” the talk show host said.
“I had never met him and I thought, ‘What kind of support is that from a gay person?’ But everybody assumed I was just non-stop talking about it. It hurt my feelings.’” she said.
DeGeneres came out on an episode of the hit sitcom Ellen and ABC cancelled her show shortly after the announcement.
“(ABC) finally let me come out, and it was a huge success the night of,” she told Shepard on the podcast.
“It was huge. It was celebrated.”
However, she revealed that she received backlash from the community she was expecting to support her, spiralling in to depression.
“People were making fun of me. I was really depressed,” she said. “And because of that and because the show was cancelled, I was looked at as a failure in this business.
“No one would touch me. I had no agent, I had no possibility of a job, I had nothing,” DeGeneres said.
“The gay community, it’s a really difficult line to walk. Some people thought, ‘You’re not gay enough, and you’re not doing enough for our community, and there are so many that have done more.’ And I was like, ‘I didn’t say I was your leader, and I didn’t say I have done more. I just want to be a comedian, and I just happen to be gay’,” she said.
Now, DeGeneres hosts one of the most popular US day time talk shows and is one of the highest paid stars in Hollywood.
Last year, an emotional DeGeneres fought back tears while celebrating the 20-year anniversary of her coming-out episode on Ellen her talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
“It was the hardest thing that I ever had to do in my life,” she said. “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.”