Ellen DeGeneres revealed she was abused by her stepfather as a teenager
The talk show host spoke to David Letterman about her experience for his series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction.
Comedian and talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has revealed details of the abuse she faced from her stepfather when she was a teenager.
She spoke about her experience to David Letterman in an interview for the second season of his Netflix series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, which premieres in the US on May 31.
According to DeGeneres, her stepdad, who is now deceased, started abusing her when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She revealed: “My mother had had breast cancer right after they got married. So she had a breast removed.”
DeGeneres added that her mother’s then-husband insisted he had to feel her breasts. “He told me when (my mother) was out of town that he’d felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breasts because he didn’t want to upset her, but he needed to feel mine.”
The stepfather tried the ploy multiple times until one particular incident when DeGeneres decided to run. “He tried to break my door down, and I kicked the window out and ran because I knew it was… gonna go more to something. And I didn’t want to tell my mother, because I was protecting her and I knew that that would ruin her happiness.”
DeGeneres eventually told her mother of the abuse several years later but was not believed. Her mother, Betty, stayed with her stepfather for another 18 years before leaving him when his version of the events kept changing.
The 61-year-old talk show host said she’s now speaking candidly about her abuse in order to empower other women and girls. "I'm angry at myself because… I was too weak to stand up… I was 15 or 16. It's a really horrible, horrible story and the only reason I'm actually going to go into detail about it is because I want other girls to not ever let someone do that."
She added: "When I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren't believed because we just don't make stuff up. And I like men, but there are so many men that get away with so much. It is just time for us to have a voice. It’s time for us to have power.”