On Friday, Betty DeGeneres released a public statement expressing her regret over the situation and advising others to believe victims of sexual abuse.
"I know now that one of the hardest things to do is speak up after being sexually abused," Betty told the Today show. "I love my daughter, and I wish I had the capacity to listen to her when she told me what happened. I live with that regret, and I wouldn’t want that for any other parent. If someone in your life has the courage to speak out, please believe them."
In the latest episode of David Letterman's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Ellen shared details about the abuse she endured as a teenager. The comedian/talk show host revealed her stepfather had groped her shortly after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
"He told me when she 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," Ellen said. She went on to add, "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."
Ellen said she was 15 or 16 at the time, and that her stepfather tried to pursue her on several subsequent occasions. Years after the initial incident, Ellen finally mustered the courage to tell her mom about the abuse; however, her claims were dismissed.
"She didn’t believe me, and then she stayed with him for 18 more years, and finally left him because he’d changed the story so many times," Ellen revealed. "I didn’t really let it get to me. Until recently, I kind of went, 'I wish I would have been better taken care of. I wish she would have believed me.' And she's apologetic, but, you know."