In a recent interview, Ellen DeGeneres spoke about the hard times she experienced in the late ‘90s.
Ellen said that after she came out in 1997, “I was the punch line of lots of jokes. I laughed at some, but I realized there’s somebody on the other side of them. It’s cruel…. I’ve never liked mean comedy, but that became even more important to me after I was the brunt of it.”
She soon hit rock bottom when her show Ellen was cancelled after five seasons. The show’s ratings and viewership plummeted after the famous coming out episode, with some criticizing the show for having become too serious and losing its comedic appeal.
In addition, during this time Ellen struggled in her personal life. She explained: “I wasn’t sure if I was going to work again, and although I was out, I was still trying to alter myself – not dressing the way I wanted to dress or wearing my hair the way I wanted to.”
Fortunately, as the saying goes – time heals all wounds. In 2003, NBC gave Ellen her own talk show, which has since won 36 Daytime Emmy Awards and was recently renewed until 2020. Soon after starting this new show, she met Portia de Rossi, who she eventually married in 2008. Forbes named Ellen one of the 50th most powerful women in the world and estimated that she earned $75 million in 2015.
Ellen commented on this turn around: “If this isn’t an example of ‘It gets better,’ I don’t know what is… Time is a strange thing. I was at rock bottom and out of money, with no work in sight, but one step at a time, it gets better. It gets much better than better.”