In hopes of “empowering” other women, Ellen Degeneres is speaking out for the first time in years about the abuse that occurred at the hands of her stepfather.
In a new episode of David Letterman’s Netflix show “My Next Guest Needs No Introduction,” the 61-year-old media mogul describes the traumatic experience in detail and shares what it was like to live with the “very bad man” her mom married as a teenager.
According to Ellen, shortly after her mother Betty was diagnosed with breast cancer and had one of her breasts removed, her stepfather used the situation to normalize his method of sexual assault.
“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 told Letterman. “…He convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts, and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time.”
At one point, Ellen claims that her mother’s husband went as far as trying to break down her bedroom door and she jumped out her window out of fear that it would go on to “something more.”
“I’m angry at myself because, you know, I didn’t — I was too weak to stand up to — I was 15 or 16,” she emotionally expressed. “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.”
Unfortunately for Ellen, her mother didn’t believe that she was being abused. Although she admits she waited until a few years later to tell her mom, Betty DeGeneres stayed married to the man for another 18 years.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Although Ellen has rekindled her relationship with her mom, like many other victims, she wishes someone would have believed her as a teen. For the tv host, the biggest thing is to help other women come forward.
“We 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.”
The full episode will air on May 31st on Netflix.