The comedian, who’s celebrating the 15th season of her popular US talk show Ellen, spoke to Ryan Seacrest on air about how views have changed since the 90s – and how difficult it was to be openly gay back then.
“This was a show that nobody wanted to buy,” she explained. “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.”
Ellen also revealed that there was one word she was told never to say – “we”.
“I remember there was something that happened to my finger, and I was in a relationship and I was going to say ‘we’ and they wouldn’t let me say ‘we’ because somebody would all of a sudden picture a woman in my life,” she recalled.
Despite having already come out on the cover of TIME Magazine in April 1997, and having publicly dated actress Anne Heche, producers were still concerned about the effect her sexuality would have on the show.
“It felt horrible because I had worked so hard to be truthful and to come to terms with my shame of hiding something that I knew was not wrong, but society was telling me was wrong.
“So I thought, ‘First of all, I lost a lot of the audience because I came out, and then I’m going to now lose the audience that supports me – that is gay or supportive – because I’m going to hide it’.”
Fortunately, Ellen proved all her doubters wrong as she’s now one of the richest TV personalities in the world, with a salary of $69 million and a wildly successful show that’s loved around the world.
She was even awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Obama last year – all while being an out gay woman.
This article was originally published on Gay Times Magazine. Read the original article.