Ellen DeGeneres opened up for the first time about being sexually assaulted by her stepfather when she was a teenager.
The daytime talk show host described the traumatic experience on an episode of Netflix’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman.
Ellen explained that her mother, Betty DeGeneres, married “a very bad man.” She revealed that he used Betty’s breast cancer diagnosis to sexually assault her.
“My mother had breast cancer right after they got married so she had her breast removed and they had very sexual relationship, which was also very uncomfortable for me. And he told me when she was out of town that he felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breast and didn’t want to upset her but needed to feel mine,” Ellen said.
“Then he tries to do it again another time and then another time, he tries to break my door down and I kick my window out and ran because I knew it was going [to turn into] something. I didn’t want to tell my mother because I was protecting her and I knew that it would ruin her happiness and she was happy with him even though he was a horrible man,” Ellen explained. “I should never have protected her and I should have protected myself. I didn’t tell her for a few years and then I told her and then she didn’t believe me and then she stayed with him for 18 more years, and finally left him because he changed the story so many times.”
“I’m angry at myself because, you know, I didn’t — I was too weak to stand up to — I was 15 or 16,” Ellen admitted. “It’s a really horrible, horrible story and the only reason I’m actually going to go into detail about it is because I want other girls to not ever let someone do that.”
Ellen hopes that she can help sexual assault victims come forward. “We [women] just don’t feel like we’re worthy, or we’re scared to have a voice, and we’re scared to say no,” she said. “That’s the only reason I think it’s important to talk about it because there’s so many young girls and it doesn’t matter how old you are. When I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren’t believed, because we just don’t make stuff up. And I like men, but there are so many men that get away with so much.”
“It is just time for us to have a voice. It’s time for us to have power.”
Season two of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman premieres on Netflix on Friday. Watch the trailer below.