LGBTQ Icons: Ellen DeGeneres – the woman who conquered the world with her comedy
This week, Ellen Degeneres has been celebrating the 11th anniversary of her marriage with Portia de Rossi.
They’re probably the ultimate lesbian power-couple – embracing life and love as one of America’s favourite couples.
To help celebrate their milestone, we thought we’d take a look at the life and career of Ellen DeGeneres and the coming-out moment that shook up the entertainment industry.
Born in 1958, DeGeneres was born in Louisiana. When her mother re-married, the family moved to Texas.
DeGeneres went to college in New Orleans, where she majored in Communication Studies, but she dropped out of college and began working a variety of different jobs.
After college, while she was working in New Orleans, DeGeneres began to try her hand at stand-up comedy. By 1981, she had progressed to become the emcee of a local comedy club and from there began to tour the national comedy circuit.
In the 1990s, DeGeneres moved into television – playing supporting roles in a number of sitcoms, before landing her own series. Simply called ‘Ellen’, the sitcom launched in 1994.
In 2003, DeGeneres launched her talk-show. It is the talk-show that has made her an international celebrity and one of the most influential people in the world of entertainment.
In 1997, during the fourth season of Ellen, DeGeneres spoke publicly for the first time about her sexuality. This coming-out process was mirrored on the sitcom where the character of Ellen also came out as a lesbian.
DeGeneres has since spoken about how her decision to talk about her sexuality impacted her career and made it difficult for her to work for a number of years.
After a number of high-profile relationships, DeGeneres began dating actress Portia de Rossi in 2004. The couple were married in 2008 – almost immediately after the state of California enacted marriage equality legislation.
The couple tied the knot on 17 August, 2008 at their Los Angeles home – in the presence of just 19 guests.
Ellen publicly marked the day of their 11th wedding anniversary with a black-and-white throwback picture from their wedding day.
In the photo, the couple are seen laughing – both wearing white, Portia in a dress and Ellen in a suit.
Alongside the photo, Ellen wrote: “Happy anniversary, Portia. 11 years. My favorite number with my favorite person.”.