Ellen DeGeneres Breaks Silence on Being Sexually Assaulted by Stepdad When She Was a Teenager

Ellen DeGeneres opened up for the first time about being sexually assaulted as a teenager because she wants other girls and women to stand up for themselves, something she said she was too afraid to do.

On a season 2 episode of Netflix's My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman, DeGeneres recalls her mother, Betty DeGeneres, marrying "a very bad man" when Ellen was a teenager.

Entertainment Tonight reports that she explained in the episode that just after Betty married the man, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have one of her breasts removed. Ellen said that the man used the information to sexually assault her.

"He told me when she was out of town that he’d felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breasts because he didn’t want to upset her, but he needed to feel mine," she recalled.

She said that he "convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time." According to Fox News, she said when he attempted to break into her room, she kicked her window out "and ran, 'cause I knew it was going to go more to something... and I didn't want to tell my mother 'cause I was protecting her and I knew that would ruin her happiness."

"I’m angry at myself because, you know, I didn’t — I was too weak to stand up to — I was 15 or 16," Ellen admitted. "It’s a really horrible, horrible story and the only reason I’m actually going to go into detail about it is because I want other girls to not ever let someone do that."

The Ellen DeGeneres Show host added that she hid the assault from her mother for a few years, but when she finally did tell her, Betty didn't believe her "and then stayed with [her husband] for 18 more years." She said that finally, Betty left her husband "because he'd changed the story so many times."

She said she hopes her story helps other victims of sexual assault come forward. "We [women] just don’t feel like we’re worthy, or we’re scared to have a voice, and we’re scared to say no," she says. "That’s the only reason I think it’s important to talk about it because there’s so many young girls and it doesn’t matter how old you are. When I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren’t believed, because we just don’t make stuff up. And I like men, but there are so many men that get away with so much."

"It is just time for us to have a voice. It's time for us to have power," she said to cheers from the audience.


Season 2 of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman premieres on Netflix on Friday. In addition to DeGeneres, celebrities like Kanye West, Tiffany Haddish, Melinda Gates and Lewis Hamilton will also appear.

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