Ellen DeGeneres Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Coming Out in Special Episode
Ellen DeGeneres is tracing back her journey 20 years ago when she came out as gay in "The Puppy Episode" of her sitcom, "Ellen" in 1997. To celebrate the 20th anniversary of coming out, Ellen brings back the cast of the sitcom, including Oprah Winfrey, to her popular daytime show, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show". Prior to its broadcast time on Friday, April 28, the show releases a sneak peek highlighting the special episode.
"Hi, I'm Ellen and I'm gay," says Ellen, opening the sneak peek. "Twenty years ago I said that [and] it was a much bigger deal then," the host continues, before adding, "Today we are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the coming-out episode of my sitcom. My character, Ellen Morgan, came out as a lesbian on national television, and I, Ellen DeGeneres, came out at the same time."
Ellen further explains that it is the first time "a lead character on TV" comes out, preceding the character on "Will & Grace", "Cam and Mitchell" as well as "Hoda and Kathie Lee". "At the time, it was so controversial which is why I thought it was important to celebrate an anniversary and remember what it was like back then, and appreciate how far we've come," Ellen says.
Oprah, who is invited to commemorate the milestone alongside Laura Dern, Joely Fisher, Clea Lewis and David Anthony Higgins, says in the sneak peek, "This is what I think for everybody who goes through anything where you have denied the truth of yourself. And then you're brave enough, you have the courage, because your whole calling is about who you were meant to be." She continues complimenting Ellen for opening hearts and touching hearts and changing people's mind as well as making difference in the world.
Ellen later explains how she burst into tears when she rehearsed the episode with Laura, whose character was the one Ellen turned to during the episode to announce that she was gay. "[There is] no greater gift than being the person that was with you and looking in your eyes as you said those words," she tells Ellen.
Laura then becomes emotional while recalling how Ellen whispered to her, "Maybe I'm not going to say it, because I haven't said that out loud." The Golden Globe-winning actress adds, "Watching you have this catharsis and the audience support, literally holding each other up during this very emotional moment, it was so profound."
"The Ellen DeGeneres Show" will air the 20th Anniversary episode on Friday, April 28.
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