As an advocate for women's rights, Ellen DeGeneres isn't one to shy away from detailing her own experiences. In an upcoming episode of David Letterman's Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, the daytime talk show host detailed her experience of being sexually abused by her stepfather.
After her parents divorced when she was 13, Ellen said her mother Betty "remarried a very bad man, a very bad man."
"My mother had breast cancer right after they got married so she had her breast removed and they had [a] very sexual relationship, which was also very uncomfortable for me," Ellen said, per Us Weekly. "And he told me when she was out of town that he felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breast and didn’t want to upset her but needed to feel mine."
After the first encounter, Ellen says her stepfather continued to pursue her on multiple occasions, but her refusal led sometimes led to escalated situations. "Then he tries to do it again another time and then another time, he tries to break my door down and I kick my window out and ran because I knew it was going [to turn into] something. I didn’t want to tell my mother because I was protecting her and I knew that it would ruin her happiness and she was happy with him even though he was a horrible man," she continued.
The Finding Dory star said waited a few years to tell her mother about the incidents, though the latter didn't believe her initially. Betty ultimately ended the marriage after 18 years because "he changed the story so many times."
Ellen ended by describing the helplessness many women feel when faced with sexual abuse. "What most women do, we just don’t feel like we have a voice. We just don’t feel like we’re worthy and we’re scared to have a voice, we’re scared to say no," she said. She ended with a declaration, saying, "It is just time for us to have a voice, it’s time for us to have power."
This isn't the first time she has discussed this experience. In 2005, Ellen shared opened up to Allure, noting that many people who've heard the story believe it to be the reason for her sexual orientation. "But I was a lesbian way before that. My earliest memories are of being a lesbian," she said.