Portia de Rossi, in a revealing new interview this week on "The Conversation With Amanda De Cadenet," opened up about her struggle to come to terms with her sexuality and her public coming out in 2005.
de Rossi was reportedly extremely nervous about coming out eight years ago, telling reporters that she used to perceive being gay as "strange," due largely to the lack of notable famous lesbian figures.
"I just didn't want to be a lesbian," de Rossi stated. "I'd never met one for a start and I just thought they were strange and that they hated men and they were very serious and I had these ridiculous images in my head and there were no out celebrities or politicians or anybody that I could look to and go, 'Oh, I could be like that.' There was nobody that I could say, 'I could date her and I want to be like her'... I just kind of thought I don't want to live like this. I don't have to, I don't need to, I just shut down the emotional life.''
Since coming out, de Rossi has frequently been candid about her sexuality and relationship with wife Ellen DeGeneres.
"Having to hide something like that just ruined me. It really, really killed me," the actress told Oprah in 2010. "I had a series of mini-heartbreaks throughout my teens because my fantasy of what life could be like with my best friend wasn’t shared with my best friend... It took me until I was about 18 when I realized I had to date other lesbians if I was ever going to fulfill that fantasy.”
However, since rising to prominence as one of the most powerful openly lesbian individuals in Hollywood, de Rossi has come to view her sexual identity through an entirely different framework. "I really, honestly think that anybody who is openly gay and visible is powerful," she told Out magazine earlier this year. "It doesn’t matter what you do, you are impacting people.”
de Rossi and DeGeneres were married in 2008.