Ellen DeGeneres (right) and also her partner, the actress ann Heche, arrive together at a Hollywood movie premiere top top June 19, 1997, a month ~ DeGeneres’s coming out on network television, (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, File)
Ellen Morgan is at the overfilled LAX gate, top top the hunt because that Susan. She and also Susan flirted the night before, and also now Ellen has a an enig she wants to disclose. In every her 35 year on this earth, she hadn’t told a soul. However it was time.

You are watching: How did ellen degeneres come out

“Okay. You to be right. Susan, ns … ns can’t. Ns can’t also say the word,” Ellen DeGeneres’s character on she sitcom Ellen said. “What’s wrong with me? yes sir nothing to it is in ashamed of. Why am ns so afraid to tell civilization … ns 35 years old. Why can’t I just come out and also say … i’m gay. You hear that? ns gay. And also it sound pretty suturing good. And it sound pretty darn loud. Oh, my God.”

With those words, Ellen DeGeneres had come out as gay top top her alphabet sitcom. ~ above the show, Ellen Morgan thinks she’s making this revelation come Susan only, but the airport’s PA device is on. The whole airport has just heard her confession. “I’m therefore proud of you. Ns remember how difficult it was as soon as I said my an initial airport complete of people,” Susan replied. In actual life, close come 42 million civilization had just witnessed the comedian-actress come out, which to be a large deal in 1997.

Ellen became one the the very first major mirrors with an openly lesbian main character. The two-part illustration was named “The Puppy Episode” together an within joke in between producers. One-of-a-kind guests abounded — Oprah play Ellen’s therapist, and also Laura Dern play Ellen’s love interest, Susan. Demi Moore, Billy Bob Thornton, Melissa Etheridge, and k.d. Lang additionally made cameos.

Prior to the episode, DeGeneres had never publicly evidenced or denied gift gay, yet it wasn’t a secret among those that knew her. On the 20th anniversary of she coming-out episode, Newsweek post the original write-up it had run complying with the episode. In she hometown of brand-new Orleans, world remember she being openly happy in the eighties.

See more: How Can A Black Hole Emit X-Rays, What Are Black Holes

Reception to the news to be mixed. Chrysler pulled an advertisement for that details episode, but not indigenous the show altogether. Wendy’s apparently refused to advertise ~ above Ellen ever again. Right-wing groups’ make the efforts to traction the illustration failed. Top top the other hand, it won an Emmy and also a Peabody and also was the most-viewed illustration of the series. Yet Ellen was canceled after ~ its 5th season, just one season ~ its groundbreaking episode.

“She’s therefore happy the present was excellent right,” one of the show’s executive, management producers, Dava Savel, said. “It was everything she want it come be. For this reason in the sense, she’s free.”