Ellen: 20 years of being out and proud

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The lesbian legend of television celebrates her coming out anniversary in a special issue of her show. She came out to Oprah in 1997 and 20 yrs later the original cast reunited to congratulate Ellen. An incredible 42 million people tuned into to watch Ellen come out, one of the most watched TV moments of that year.
For the first time since the sitcom series ended in 1998 – amid anti-gay protests and outrage – the cast will be reunited on this Friday’s show. “The Ellen DeGeneres Show will celebrate the milestone with a reunion with special guest stars Oprah Winfrey and Laura Dern joining castmembers Joely Fisher, Clea Lewis and David Anthony Higgins.” Ellen says she predicted that people would be excited but had no idea that this excitement would last so long and would be so huge as it is. “There was concern over not only how the audience would react, but how the advertisers would react,” biographer Lisa Iannucci told Biography.com. “We had no idea if ABC were even going to allow that to happen,” Ellen’s brother, Vance DeGeneres a screenwriter on the show told biography.com “So it was an incredibly stressful season.” But coming out in real life was much harder than in the show, she did it for herself, to feel more comfortable with her real personality and did not think that it could be somebody else’s business. But that’s what publicity meant. At one point Oprah asks what made Ellen ‘finally comfortable to say it‘ to which Ellen responds, “I’ve become more comfortable with myself just in general and I went to therapy and you know, not for that issue but just finding out more about myself.” Sawyer even went as far as to ask Ellen whether she’d slept with men. DeGeneres noted she’d slept with two men in her life and likened the occasions to Peggy Lee’s hit ‘Is That All There Is?’

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