Why Ellen DeGeneres couldn’t say ‘we’ on national TV

Joe Vesey-Byrne
Wednesday 06 September 2017 14:15
Celebrities
Picture:(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

TV comic Ellen DeGeneres has discussed being banned from making allusions to her same-sex relationship on television.

DeGeneres has been on television since 1978, but has only been out since April 1997.

A month later, her character on the show 'Ellen' also came out, and it was cancelled a year later by ABC.

In 2003 she bagged 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' but, the broadcaster alleges, a reluctance among showrunners persisted with regards to an open discussion of her sexuality.

During an interview on On Air With Ryan Seacrest, DeGeneres claimed that overt references to her relationship were avoided on the show that was ostensibly her own.

They didn’t think anyone would watch a lesbian during the day.

[Keeping my sexuality quiet] was really not just implied it was verbal … 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.

Prior to her current marriage to Portia de Rossi, DeGeneres dated the actress Anne Heche and the photographer Alexandra Hedison.

DeGeneres also discussed the feelings of guilt over hiding her sexuality.

It felt horrible because I had worked so hard to be truthful and to come to terms of my shame of hiding something that I knew wasn’t wrong … It was a hard balance. What’s more appealing than anything is honesty.

Social attitudes to same-sex relationships have changed during the 15 seasons 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show' has been on air.

In 2001 the Pew Research Centre found that 57 per cent of Americans were opposed to same-sex marriage (with 35 per cent in favour).

Sixteen years later, Pew found the numbers had switched almost diametrically to 62 per cent in favour, and only 32 per cent opposed.

The changeover appears to have occurred in 2011 when support and opposition were tied around 45 per cent.

HT Queerty

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