Ellen Degeneres was hurt by Sir Elton John’s comments after she came out as a lesbian in 1997.
The Finding Dory star lost her top-rated TV comedy show in the wake of going public with her homosexuality in a Time magazine interview, and she admits the backlash was very upsetting – but she didn’t expect other famous gay people to turn on her.
“During the time, because there was so much talk about it, everyone was just sick of it,” she told pal Dax Shepard in a new episode of his Armchair Expert podcast. “I had only done the cover of Time magazine, a primetime special with Diane Sawyer and Oprah – those were the only three places I talked – but people were reporting on reports and reports and reports.
“Even Elton John said, ‘Shut up already. We know you’re gay. Be funny’. I had never met him and I thought, ‘What kind of support is that from a gay person?’ But everybody assumed I was just non-stop talking about it. It hurt my feelings.”
And she didn’t like the fact that she had become the butt of jokes on late night TV chat shows, adding, “People were making fun of me. I was really depressed.
“And because of that and because the show was canceled, I was looked at as a failure in this business. No one would touch me. I had no agent, I had no possibility of a job, I had nothing.”
DeGeneres eventually found her way back to television as a daytime TV host – her The Ellen DeGeneres Show is now in its 15th season.
Last year, DeGeneres fought back tears as she celebrated the 20th anniversary of her coming-out episode of sitcom Ellen, telling fans, “It was the hardest thing that I ever had to do in my life, and I would not change one moment of it because it led me to be exactly where I am today, standing in front of all of you.”