Chat show queen Ellen DeGeneres has revealed she hit “rock bottom” after coming out as a lesbian in 1997.
“I was the punch line of lots of jokes,” she told Out magazine. “I laughed at some, but I realized there’s somebody on the other side of them. It’s cruel”
“I’ve never liked mean comedy, but that became even more important to me after I was the brunt of it.”
The comedian, 58, came out on the Oprah Winfrey Show back in 1997 and also appeared on the front of Time magazine alongside the headline: “Yep, I’m gay”.
But then her life spiraled after her show Ellen was canceled and she had deal with problems in her personal life.
“Before this show, I had a lot of insecurity,” the star, who currently hosts The Ellen DeGeneres Show, said.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to work again, and although I was out, I was still trying to alter myself – not dressing the way I wanted to dress or wearing my hair the way I wanted to.”
Ellen, who married actress Portia de Rossi in 2008, added: “I slowly gained the confidence to be authentic, and what I’ve learned about other people is that they strive to be authentic, too.
“So whether they fully support me, love my lifestyle, or love that I’m married to a woman, I think they like that authenticity, and they’re drawn to it.”
Her life turned round when she landed her new show in 2003 and met her now-wife a year later.
“If this isn’t an example of ‘It gets better,’ I don’t know what is,” Ellen told the magazine.
“Time is a strange thing. I was at rock bottom and out of money, with no work in sight, but one step at a time, it gets better.
“It gets much better than better.”
Ellen was named Entertainer of the Year by the LGBT magazine.