Ellen DeGeneres is opening up about her painful experience with COVID-19 that included back pain so severe she felt like she "cracked a rib." The comedian detailed her experience with the coronavirus in a preview of the monologue from her first episode of 2021 Wednesday after testing positive in early December.
"This is my experience with COVID. The first three days I slept for 16 hours a day and then on the fourth day I woke up with back spasms, and I thought I had pulled a muscle or slept weird because I was in a different bed, but it just persisted," she shared. After being put on pain pills and muscle relaxers by her doctor, the talk show host "got worse" with her extreme discomfort. "It felt like I cracked a rib," she confessed. "You know how I make you laugh so hard that your ribs hurt? That's how it was like for me. Now I know how you feel when I make you laugh."
DeGeneres has since recovered and she's "all clear" to return to work, thanking everyone who reached out with kind words during her illness. "I wish I could've hugged each and every one of you," she quipped. "That would've been dangerous and illegal probably."
The Finding Dory star learned she had tested positive for COVID in early December while getting her hair and makeup done for the day's show. "And then everyone around me ran away," she said. "It's funny, people just really get scared. Some ran and they have not come back since." DeGeneres left the studio immediately and the show's COVID-19 safety team reached out to everyone who had contact with her. At home, the star quarantined away from wife Portia de Rossi, whom she joked made her sleep in a different room "because she wanted the race car bed all to herself."
The intense back pain DeGeneres continued to suffer resulted in doctors putting her on a steroid pack that eventually helped the pain subside, but the talk show host advised she had heard from several people who had similar back pain symptoms after testing positive for COVID-19. "So apparently now back pain is a symptom of COVID, which I did not know, but anyway now you know," she said. "I'm not saying if you have back pain you have COVID, but it is a symptom."
The back pain was the only symptom DeGeneres developed, and the host said she was still unclear where she contracted the virus. "I started to feel better and I am very fortunate, very, very blessed, that was it for me," she said. "The weird thing is I don't know where I got it. I wear a mask, I wash my hands, I only licked three or four door handles, so it's a mystery to me how that would happen." She concluded with a message to others struggling with the illness, saying that her "heart goes out to all of them."