Ellen DeGeneres Reveals What Finally Gave Her the Strength to Come Out (VIDEO)

ellen degeneresEven now in 2015, gay stars are still somewhat hesitant to come out for fear of public reaction. But back in 1997 when trailblazer Ellen DeGeneres announced her sexual orientation to the world, it was an unbelievably brave thing to do -- and such a scary prospect that the now 57-year-old talk show host almost didn't think she was ever going to do it


As DeGeneres reveals in an upcoming episode of Oprah's Master Class,  “I didn’t think I was going to come out, period. I didn’t think I’d be coming out on a show, ever.”

Because in case you don't remember, DeGeneres actually came out on the Oprah Winfrey Show in February of '97, then came out again as her character on her popular sitcom Ellen -- to a therapist played by none other than, you guessed it, Oprah Winfrey. But it took a lot of introspection and deep thinking before DeGeneres was in a place where she could even consider being honest with the public about her true identity. She finally found the courage as a result of a meditation retreat in Big Sur, California, she tells Oprah in a Master Class preview clip:

“Someone gave me a gift, a course at a place called Esalen. It’s kind of a hippie place, and you go in, and [there’s] no TV and no music and no anything, and it’s just meditation and different things and different courses -- and there was a course called Changing the Inner Dialogue of Your Subconscious Mind, and I thought, 'That would be an interesting course to take' because I wanted to know what the inner dialogue of my subconscious mind was.”

As it turned out, that inner dialogue was pretty intense: 

“It was scary and crazy and what came out of listening to what I had been saying to myself was, ‘Would I still be famous, would they still love me if they knew I was gay?’” she said. “And my fear was that no, no they wouldn’t, and then it made me feel ashamed that I was hiding something. It made me feel ashamed that I couldn’t feel honest and really be who I am, and I just didn’t want to pretend to be somebody else anymore so that people would like me.”

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Awww, Ellen -- clearly all that worrying was for nothing! Not only did people still like you after you came out, but they liked you even more! In fact, they LOVED you for it! But then, how could you not love this lady:

And just think of all the stars -- and everyday people -- Ellen inspired with her courage. Hollywood might be a very different place if Ellen hadn't come out, when you think about it. What a powerful reminder to us all to be exactly who we are without shame or fear! 


Image via OWN/YouTube 

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