"He was a bad man." Ellen DeGeneres was 15 when her mum's partner sexually assaulted her.


Content Warning: This post discusses sexual assault and may be triggering for some readers.

“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.”

You’ll be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard the name Ellen DeGeneres.

The 61-year-old comedian has been on our TV screens for more than two decades.

She’s brought us emotional, insightful, headline-grabbing interviews from celebrities, everyday people, and world leaders.

She’s also shared glimpses of her life along the way.

We know about her beautiful romance with wife Portia de Rossi.


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We know a hell of a lot about her beloved pack of pets of which she has seven.

She’s also talked about her struggles dealing with homophobia and how ‘coming out’ as gay affected her career.

We also know about the devastating car crash that killed her girlfriend when she was 20.

But in a new interview the daytime talk show host has opened up about the years she was molested as a teenager.

Ellen will share the story on season two of Netflix’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, reports Entertainment Tonight. 

Here’s the trailer. Post continues after video.

Video by Netflix

According to the publication, Ellen reveals that as a teenager her mother Betty DeGeneres married a “very bad man”.

When Betty was diagnosed with breast cancer soon after their wedding day, she had to have one of her breasts removed.

Ellen says her stepfather used this information to sexually assault her on a number of occasions.


“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,” she tells David Letterman.

“He convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time.”

Ellen goes on to describe how her stepdad would try to break into her locked room and that she was forced to escape through her bedroom window.

“I’m angry at myself because, you know, I didn’t… I was too weak to stand up to – I was 15 or 16,” Ellen says in the interview.

The TV host told her mother of the sexual assault a few years later, but she didn’t believe her. In fact, she stayed married to her second husband for another 18 years.

It made Ellen “really angry” but her relationship with her mum has since recovered. She assures Letterman, “I didn’t really let it get to me,” but admits she wishes she could have been taken care of better.

Ellen Degeneres and her mum
Ellen with her mum Betty in 2016. Image: Getty.

So why now?

Why speak about it now?

Because Ellen is sick of seeing people speak out about sexual assault and abuse and not be believed.

"We don't just make stuff up," Ellen says, according to ET.

"That’s the only reason I think it’s important to talk about it because there’s so many young girls and it doesn’t matter how old you are.

"We [women] just don’t feel like we’re worthy, or we’re scared to have a voice, and we’re scared to say no," she explains.

"It is just time for us to have a voice. It’s time for us to have power."

The second season of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman premieres on Netflix on Friday, May 31.

If this post brings up any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. It doesn’t matter where you live, they will take your call and, if need be, refer you to a service closer to home.