Amiable and approachable, Ellen DeGeneres has managed to change the world for the better. By remaining that fun aunt to the American and international public, she is a force for good when it comes to LGBTI rights.
When Ellen came out in 1997, her career could have very easily ended there. And it did, as for a short period of time, she became a national joke.
But she came back stronger, and has used her talk show to consistently prove to the world that LGBTI people are normal, loving, working people. She proved we were nothing to be afraid of.
1. Before making it big, she was a TGI Friday’s waitress, a house painter, a bartender, an oyster shucker, a vacuum cleaner sales person and a paralegal.
2. Her mother was a speech therapist and her father was an insurance agent. Normal right? Except her 11th cousin is Madonna.
3. She was molested by her now deceased stepfather as a teen. A huge part of her philanthropy now involves helping other sex abuse survivors.
4. She was named the Funniest Person In America in 1982. She later won the Mark Twain prize in 2012.
5. She turned down the role of Phoebe in Friends.
6. But instead, between 1994 and 1998, starred in her own hilarious sitcom Ellen.
7. She was the first person to play a lead gay character on TV.
8. Her coming out episode was seen by 47 million people.
9. Her Time cover was voted by readers as the best ever issue of the magazine.
10. All three of her books have made the New York Times’ Best Seller list. My Point… And I Do Have One reached number one.
11. In 2003, she launched her own talk show The Ellen DeGeneres Show. It’s still running today.
12. On the show, she proved she loves to dance.
13. She’s competitive.
14. And she’s good at scaring people.
15. Even her staff.
16. She’s a vegan, saying she is a ‘big animal lover’.
17. She rescues dogs.
18. Her wife Portia De Rossi credits her with having saved her from anorexia.
19. She quit smoking in 2005.
20. Her Hurricane Katrina’s relief fund helped raise over $7 million.
21. She was the second woman to host the Oscars on her own (following Whoopi Goldberg) in 2006.
22. And then followed that up with an amazing job again in 2014.
23. She’s got her own sense of style.
24. But doesn’t mind breaking from it occasionally.
25. She doesn’t care about being on the worst dressed list.
‘This business manipulates and screws up women’s — and men’s — views of what we’re all supposed to look like… My gender-bender style is apparently a bore.’
26. During the Oscars, she instigated the best selfie ever.
27. She introduced us to Dory.
28. She learned how to speak whale for the part, so that was useful.
29. And by playing Dory, taught us all a life lesson.
30. And she campaigned for a sequel to Finding Nemo, which was successful.
31. She has her own ride at Disney World (So jealous).
32. The best seat on her talk show is reserved for her mom Betty.
33. She brought Sophia Grace and Rosie to international attention.
34. She challenged Michelle Obama to a push up contest and lost (Michelle apparently cheated).
35. She has introduced us to hundreds of incredible people on her show.
36. Including the very special Talia, a girl with cancer (who sadly died after her appearances).
37. She is, in some way, responsible for this video.
38. She hilariously campaigned to be on the cover of O.
39. For odd traits you should know about, she is early all of the time – a rarity among celebs.
40. She’s constantly flipping houses, much to the loving annoyance of her wife.
41. She collects antique portraits.
42. Her game, Heads Up, made number one on iTunes in several countries.
43. She knows the meaningful quotes in life.
44. She doesn’t need gaydar.
45. She likes to challenge herself in comedy, saying: ‘If you put fuck in front of anything, an audience is going to laugh. It’s just – it’s easy. I like a challenge.’
46. She describes Portia as the ‘smartest, kindest, most wonderful woman that you’ll ever, ever know’ and describes being married to her as: ‘What can I say? I’m the luckiest girl in the world.’
47. She really does love her wife.
48. On how we treat each other:’I am saddened by how people treat one another and how we are so shut off from one another and how we judge one another, when the truth is, we are all one connected thing. We are all from the same exact molecules.’
49. She lists her greatest achievements as ‘being able to do what I love, and being able to install a dimmer’.
50. But most importantly, she’s always herself.