WATCH: Ellen DeGeneres Says She Never Thought She Would Come Out
Ellen DeGeneres struggled with coming out.
These days she’s happily married to Portia De Rossi, but in the ’90s, Ellen struggled with her decision to come out publicly.
“‘Would I still be famous? Would they still love me if they knew I was gay?’ And my fear was no, they wouldn’t,” the TV personality said in a new clip from Oprah’s Master Class.
“I didn’t think I was gonna come out, period,” she said, but after she took a class at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, Calif., which she described as a ‘hippy retreat,’ things changed.
“There was a course called Changing the Inner Dialogue of Your Subconscious Mind, so I thought that would be an interesting course to take,” she said. “It was scary and crazy… it made me feel shame that I was hiding something, it made me feel shame that I couldn’t be honest and really be who I am, and I just didn’t want to pretend to be somebody else anymore so that people would like me.”
Back in 1997, Ellen appeared on Oprah to discuss her experience coming out, saying “I never thought it was anybody’s business who I am and who I am with, so I thought ‘Why do people need to know?’ And then I realized that as long as I had this secret that I worried about all the time, that it made it look like something was wrong.”
Watch the clip above to see Ellen talk about her experience.