During an interview with David Letterman, DeGeneres revealed that the reason she was opening up about the abuse was that she hopes to empower other women and girls.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show host Ellen DeGeneres has opened up about a traumatic childhood in David Letterman's Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, according to CNN. During the interview, she revisited the time she was sexually abused by her stepfather. She was just 15 years old at the time. She revealed that her mother had married a "very bad man". When DeGeneres was a teenager, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and she had to have one of her breasts removed. DeGeneres revealed that her stepfather used her mom's illness as an excuse to abuse her sexually.
She said, "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," Ellen revealed. "Again, because I didn't know about bodies, I don't know that breasts are all different and... Anyway, he convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time."
"He tries to break my door down, and I kicked the 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," DeGeneres continued. "I’m angry at myself because, you know, I didn’t... I was too weak to stand up to... I was 15 or 16. It’s a really horrible, horrible story and the only reason I’m actually going to go into detail about it is that I want other girls to not ever let someone do that."
DeGeneres also shared how her mom, Betty, is apologetic now, but when she brought this up to her mom's notice when she was 15, she refused to believe Ellen. Betty also stayed with the man for nearly 18 years. "And then she didn't believe me and then she stayed with him for 18 more years. And finally left him because he'd changed the story so many times," said DeGeneres.
DeGeneres did what she thought was right back then, but now, she feels she should have done something about it sooner. "I should never have protected her. I should have protected myself and I didn't tell her for a few years and then I told her," she shared. But, honestly, it is not her fault. Most people would choose to believe a grown person over a child and this is exactly what happened with DeGeneres too.
During the interview with Letterman, DeGeneres revealed that the reason she was opening up and giving out more details about the abuse was that she hopes to empower other women and girls. This is actually not the first time that she's opened up about the abuse. Back in 2005, during an interview with Allure, as People reports, she said the man, who is now dead “made me lie down because he said he felt hers while she was lying down."
She also said that she doesn't really recall how long the abuse lasted, but when the man, who she refuses to name, tried to break down her bedroom door (as mentioned earlier) and get to her. So to save herself “I had to kick a window out and escape and sleep in a hospital all night long.” DeGeneres also said she wants to encourage other survivors not to suffer in silence. "When I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren't believed," DeGeneres said, adding, "because we just don't make stuff up."