Ellen Lee DeGeneres (born January 26, 1958) is an American comedian, television host, actress, writer, and producer. She starred in the popular sitcom Ellen from 1994 to 1998 and has hosted her syndicated TV talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, since 2003.
She starred in two television sitcoms, Ellen from 1994 to 1998, and The Ellen Show from 2001 to 2002. During the fourth season of Ellen in 1997, she came out as a lesbian in an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Her character, Ellen Morgan, also came out to a therapist played by Winfrey, and the series went on to explore various LGBT issues, including the coming-out process. In 2008, she married her longtime girlfriend Portia de Rossi.
After the coming-out episode, titled “The Puppy Episode”,. Ellen came back for a fifth season but experience a drop in viewership. It was believed that The Walt Disney Company, ABC”s parent company became uncomfortable with the “Gay” agenda and the directions her show was headed and in May of 2018 the show was cancelled. After coming out, Ellen nearly lost it all.
She however weathered the storm by returning to comedy amid controversies surrounding her coming out and the ever-growing activism for equal rights in America. In the end, she became one of the most recognizable faces in television and within the LGBT community.
On November 22, 2016, Ellen received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civil honor which was awarded to her by former President Barack Obama.