At DeGeneres’ suggestion, the “Arrested Development” and “Scandal” star shared her memory of coming out as a lesbian to her grandmother, who was 99 years old at the time and had been outspoken in her anti-LGBTQ views.
“She was a huge fan of [the sitcom] ‘Ellen,’ wouldn’t miss an episode ― until the episode where she came out,” said de Rossi, referring to “The Puppy Episode,” which aired in 1997. “I know I’m gay at this point, I love my gran. The minute that Ellen came out, she refused to watch the show. In fact, if a commercial for the show came on, she would change the channel and say, ‘That disgusting woman.’ That didn’t bode well for me.”
Not long after that conversation, de Rossi relocated from her native Australia to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. She and DeGeneres began dating in 2004, and she decided to address the relationship with her family during a trip home.
Watch Portia de Rossi’s chat with Ellen DeGeneres below.
When de Rossi’s grandmother asked if she was dating anyone, the actor revealed that she and DeGeneres were a couple.
“So she literally put her head in her hands for 20 seconds, 30 seconds, silent,” de Rossi said. “I thought: ‘That’s it. I’ve killed my grandma.’ I really thought that I did. And she just looked at me, and she goes, ‘Well, I love you just the same.’”
Later in the interview, de Rossi shared some thoughts on what she believes DeGeneres should do after the final episode of her show airs on May 26 after 19 seasons.
“Honestly, I just want you to do something that makes you really happy,” she said. “But I want to make sure that you continue being a teacher because that’s really what you’ve been for everybody.”
“More than ever, we need love and light and laughter, so I hope that you continue to do something like that ― like stand-up, for example.”