All about Ellen DeGeneres’ family, marriage, wife and kids

Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi share a kiss in 2018.

Who is Ellen DeGeneres?

Ellen DeGeneres is an American comedian, television host, actress, writer and producer. She is popularly known for hosting the syndicated television talk show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” from 2003 to 2022 and for providing the voice of “Dory” in the Disney films – “Finding Nemo” and “Finding Dory”. As a television host, Ellen DeGeneres is known for her quirky observational humour.

Ellen DeGeneres’ full name is Ellen Lee DeGeneres. She was born on January 26, 1958, in Metairie, Louisiana, the United States to her parents – Elizabeth Jane DeGeneres (mother) and Elliott DeGeneres (father). As of November 2022, Ellen DeGeneres is 64 years old.

About Ellen DeGeneres’ parents

Ellen DeGeneres’ mother, Elizabeth Jane DeGeneres (née Pfeffer) is an American LGBTQ+ rights activist. She was born on May 20, 1930, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the United States. Elizabeth DeGeneres is of Irish and German descent and is a professional speech therapist.

She married Elliott DeGeneres (Ellen DeGeneres’ father) in 1952 and they had two children together. They got divorced in 1974. Not long after, Elizabeth DeGeneres got married to her second husband Roy Gruessendorf (Ellen DeGeneres’ stepfather) and they again divorced in 1991.

Roy Gruessendorf passed away in 1997 and in 2005, Ellen DeGeneres revealed that her stepfather often molested her. Elizabeth DeGeneres was diagnosed with breast cancer not long after her marriage to Roy Gruessendorf. Fortunately, she survived. As of November 2022, Elizabeth DeGeneres is 92 years old.

Ellen DeGeneres’ biological father, Elliott Everett DeGeneres was an insurance agent. He was born in 1925 in the United States. During his life, Elliott DeGeneres had a strict adherence to Christian Science, a belief system that claims illnesses and ailments can be cured with prayer. Throughout his life, Elliott DeGeneres never used medicine or went to a doctor. Elliott DeGeneres passed away in 2018 at the age of 92.

Ellen DeGeneres is often cited as one of America’s most successful talk show hosts.

About Ellen DeGeneres’ siblings

Ellen DeGeneres’ has an older brother named Vance Elliott DeGeneres. He is an American actor, comedian, musician, film producer and screenwriter. He was born on September 2, 1954, in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, and is currently 68 years old. Vance DeGeneres is currently married to his wife, Joanna DeGeneres. They have been married since 2013. Vance DeGeneres also joined the Marine Corps for two years, during which he reached the rank of corporal. He also played the bass guitar and was in a band called “The Cold.”

Ellen DeGeneres’ sexuality

Ellen DeGeneres is openly lesbian. She came out in 1997 (one of the earliest Hollywood stars to do so) and later became a big advocate of LGBTQ+ rights.

DeGeneres first came out as a lesbian while she was a guest on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in 1997. During the same period, Ellen DeGeneres’ character on the self-titled 1994 sitcom, “Ellen” also came out on the show to her therapist (also played by Oprah Winfrey). The character “Ellen Morgan” became the first lead in sitcom history to do so. The show faced strong criticism at the time and several sponsors withdrew their support for the show. “Ellen” was cancelled in 1998.

About Ellen DeGeneres’ marriage and wedding

As of the time of publishing this article (November 2022), Ellen DeGeneres is married to his wife, Portia de Rossi. Prior to her marriage to Portia de Rossi, Ellen DeGeneres was in a relationship with Anne Heche.

As of 2022, Ellen DeGeneres and her wife Portia de Rossi have been married for 14 years.

List of Ellen DeGeneres’ girlfriends

Below is a list of women Ellen DeGeneres has dated.

  1. Ellen DeGeneres dated Kat Perkoff in 1977.
  2. Ellen DeGeneres dated Teresa Boyd in 1988.
  3. Ellen DeGeneres dated Anne Heche in 1997.
  4. Ellen DeGeneres dated Alexandra Hedison in 2001.
  5. Ellen DeGeneres started dating Portia de Rossi in 2004. They got married in 2008.

About Ellen DeGeneres’ relationship with Anne Heche

Anne Celeste Heche was an American actress. She was born on May 25, 1969, in Aurora, Ohio, United States. She passed away on August 11, 2022, in Los Angeles, California due to complications from a car accident. At the time of her death, Anne Heche was 53 years old.

Anne Heche and Ellen DeGeneres met at a Vanity Fair party. Their relationship was a groundbreaking one and went on to become one of Hollywood’s most iconic gay relationships.

Speaking of their initial meeting, DeGeneres said:

“It was a chemistry thing that you can’t really describe. It just happened. Obviously, I was attracted to her, but that wasn’t enough. There are a lot of attractive people. She is so unique.”

However, their relationship was not fully welcomed with open arms by the public. In 1992, when Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche wanted to make their red carpet debut at the premiere of Heche’s film, “Volcano”, Heche was allegedly told that her job would be in jeopardy if she went public with the relationship.

Anne Heche said:

“I had told them that I was taking Ellen as my date and I was told if I took Ellen, I would lose my Fox contract. At that moment, she took my hand and said, ‘Do what they say,’ and I said, ‘No, thanks.'”

Heche added that she was escorted out of the venue by security along with Ellen DeGeneres and she was barred from attending the after-party so that the press would not get a picture of her with another woman.

Sadly, Ellen DeGeneres and Anne Heche ended their relationship in August 2000, after about three years of dating. They released a joint statement, saying that the split was an amicable one. However, a year later, Ellen DeGeneres revealed that the split had come as a complete shock to her.

She said:

“She walked out the door and I haven’t spoken to her since. I don’t have the answers.”

Heche married real estate broker Coleman Laffoon in 2001. When Anne Heche died in August 2022, Ellen DeGeneres tweeted:

“This is a sad day. I’m sending Anne’s children, family and friends all of my love.”

Ellen DeGeneres and ex-girlfriend Anne Heche.

About Ellen DeGeneres’ relationship with Alexandra Hedison

Alexandra Hedison is an American photographer, director and actress. She is currently married to American filmmaker, Jodie Foster. Alexandra Hedison was born on July 10, 1969, in Los Angeles, California and is currently 53 years old.

Alexandra Hedison and Ellen DeGeneres started dating in 2001, not long after DeGeneres split from Anne Heche. According to Hedison, the first time she met Ellen DeGeneres, she (Ellen) did not remember her. They met multiple times before becoming friends and then girlfriends. They split in 2004. The timing of the breakup was a bit awkward as “The Advocate” was about to release a cover story focused on their love.

In the interview, Hedison said:

“I would never have done this story if I had thought we would not be together today.”

On the other hand, DeGeneres noted:

“Who knew that the publication and the timing of it would prove to be bittersweet?”

However, in 2005, Ellen DeGeneres revealed that the reason why she and Alexandra Hedison broke up was that she had fallen in love with Portia de Rossi. Hedison has since moved on and is currently married to award-winning actress Jodie Foster.

Ellen DeGeneres and ex-girlfriend Alexandra Hedison.

About Ellen DeGeneres’ marriage to Portia de Rossi

Portia Lee James DeGeneres (known professionally as Portia de Rossi and born Amanda Lee Rogers) is an Australian-American former actress, business executive and author. She was born on January 31, 1973, in Horsham, Victoria, Australia and is currently 49 years old.

Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres first met in 2001 at a “Rock the Vote” concert. Both de Rossi and DeGeneres claimed to have had an instant connection but didn’t act on it. Over the years, they ran into each other a couple more times but Portia de Rossi kept her feelings hidden.

In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Portia de Rossi said:

“It took me three years to actually tell her how I felt about her because I was on ‘Ally McBeal’ at the time and I was not living as an openly gay person. I was closeted and very, very afraid that if I talked about being gay, it would end my career.”

DeGeneres, on the other hand, had given up hope of a romantic relationship between them at the time as Portia de Rossi was in a relationship with Francesca Gregorini and Ellen DeGeneres was dating Alexandra Hedison.

Ellen DeGeneres said:

“She had a girlfriend and I had a girlfriend but it wasn’t like, ‘Oh, we’re going to have an affair.’ We were just supposed to be together.”

Ellen DeGeneres and her beautiful wife Portia de Rossi.

In December 2004, Portia de Rossi approached Ellen DeGeneres and told her that she could not stop thinking about her. The feelings were mutual and the two women started dating.

In January 2005, Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres made their red carpet debut at the Golden Globes. By August 2005, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi has bought a ranch in California together.

Speaking about her relationship with de Rossi in early 2007, Ellen DeGeneres said:

“There’s happiness and there’s love, and then there’s completion. It doesn’t take away from any of the relationships. But I feel like I found my perfect fit.”

In May 2008, Ellen DeGeneres announced that she was getting married. Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi tied the knot in a private ceremony at their Los Angeles home on August 16, 2008 (two months after same-sex unions were legalized in California). They later revealed that they were initially planning a big wedding but as it turned out, only nineteen people were present to witness them making their lifelong commitment to each other.

In September 2010, Portia de Rossi officially changed her name to Portia Lee James DeGeneres. At the time, she said:

“I am thrilled to legally adopt my wife’s name. I will continue to use Portia de Rossi for professional purposes.”

In August 2020, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi celebrated their 12th wedding anniversary.

Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi’s wedding in 2008.

About Ellen DeGeneres’s husband

Ellen DeGeneres is a lesbian woman. She does not have a husband but a wife whose name is Portia de Rossi.

About Ellen DeGeneres’ kids

As of the time of publishing this article, Ellen DeGeneres does not have any children. She has not expressed any interest in having them either.

Speaking about her stance on motherhood in 2015, DeGeneres said:

“I love kids but that’s such a high commitment. It seems long-term. It seems like a commitment you have to stick with and I just don’t know if I can. It’s too risky.”

Why Ellen DeGeneres ended her show

In 2022, Ellen DeGeneres announced that she would be ending her show, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show”, adding that the decision had been years in the making. However, the announcement was made after allegations about her running a toxic work environment on set surfaced. DeGeneres added that one of the reasons for ending the show was because it no longer challenged her creatively.

She said:

“I was going to stop (hosting the show) after season 16. That was going to be my last season and they wanted me to sign for four more years and I said I’d sign for maybe one. So we settled on three years and I knew that would be my last. That’s been the plan all along.”

Allegations of bullying and harassment on the show first surfaced in July 2020. An internal investigation was launched and three high-level producers were fired. DeGeneres reportedly apologized to her staff members in an email before the premiere of season 18.

She said:

“The accusations were very hurtful to me. But if I was quitting the show because of that, I wouldn’t have come back this season.”

About Ellen DeGeneres’ experience with sexual abuse

Ellen DeGeneres first opened up about being sexually molested by her stepfather, Roy Gruessendorf in 2005. In 2019, she spoke about the abuse in more detail. She said that the incident occurred when she was 15 or 16 years old and her mother, Elizabeth DeGeneres was diagnosed with breast cancer. She said that Gruessendorf would approach her when her mother wasn’t around and tell her that he’d felt a lump in her mother’s breast and wanted to check if she had lumps too.

According to DeGeneres, Gruessendorf kept doing this for quite some time but she did not tell her mother because she didn’t want to upset her. However, when she eventually worked up the courage to tell her mother about it, Elizabeth DeGeneres didn’t believe her.

She said:

“I never should have protected her. I should have protected myself, and I didn’t tell her for a few years, and then I told her and then she didn’t believe me, and then she stayed with him for eighteen more years.”

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About Azeezat Adeniji

Azeezat Adeniji is an English Language student from Nigeria. She enjoys reading, writing and trying new recipes.

View all posts by Azeezat Adeniji

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