magine being as famous, well-liked, and well-respected as Ellen DeGeneres, and still not be able to be your authentic self on television.
Ellen has been a staple on our small screens for decades now, but the comedian and talk show host phoned in to "On Air With Ryan Seacrest" on September 5 to talk about the struggles she faced as a gay woman in Hollywood, specifically the one word she wasn't allowed to say on air long after she was out.
It's eye-opening and heartbreaking. One can only hope that Ellen's experience has made it easier for other LGBTQ+ entertainers to be out and proud in Hollywood.
Ellen DeGeneres is Hollywood royalty.
Season 15 of her daytime talk show, The Ellen Degeneres Show, is about to begin. That’s no small feat for anyone to achieve, but it’s especially impressive considering the hurdles she’s had to face over the years.
DeGeneres called in to Ryan Seacrest’s radio show on September 5 to celebrate the return of her show and get real about what it’s been like to be gay in Hollywood.
Long before DeGeneres had her talk show, she was a staple of the stand-up comedy world.
She cut her teeth on stages throughout the U.S. and was named Showtime’s Funniest Person in America in 1982.
She made history in the '90s after she came out as a lesbian on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Two months after that momentous interview, in April 1997, her character on her sitcom, Ellen, also came out.
She was officially the first gay lead character in TV history.
Being out in the '90s wasn't easy, though.
DeGeneres dated actresses like Anne Heche and Alexandra Hedison. Even though she was out and proud in her personal life, she was constantly told that being openly gay on screen was problematic.
Ellen was canceled in 1998, and her second sitcom, The Ellen Show, lasted just 13 episodes.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show premiered in 2003, but it wasn't an easy sell to networks.
“This was a show that nobody wanted to buy,” she told Ryan Seacrest. “They really didn’t think anyone would watch a lesbian during the day and, at the time, no one wanted to see a lesbian at night either. So I was really out of options.”
So, what did she do next?