Ellen DeGeneres says Portia de Rossi was her ‘rock’ during toxic work environment scandal: ‘She kept me going’
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The talk show host faced scrutiny last year after several former employees alleged a toxic work environment. The 63-year-old told People magazine on Wednesday for their first annual "Love" issue that the actress and businesswoman was a source of strength.
"It broke my heart," DeGeneres admitted to the outlet. "I couldn’t have gone through everything I went through without her. It was a horrible time in my life, and she was a rock. She kept me going and tried to help me put things in perspective."
The couple tied the knot in August 2008 after same-sex marriage was legalized in California.
Portia de Rossi (L) and Ellen DeGeneres tied the knot in 2008. (Photo by Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images)
"We’ve grown together as a couple, and we really consider each other and put our relationship first," said de Rossi, 48. "By doing that, you become a lot more solid. I can’t imagine spending time with anyone but her."
"We think the same things, say the same things at the same time, finish each other’s sandwiches – no sentences," chimed DeGeneres. "We’re in a rhythm that’s easy."
The pair insisted that they still find new things to appreciate about each other daily.
"To start superficially, I love the way she looks," said DeGeneres about her wife. "I love her brain; she’s smart. That’s really important. She’s strong. She’s confident. She’s really funny. And she’s a good dresser and a good dancer. She’s learning to cook."
As for de Rossi, she said DeGeneres "is the kindest, most generous, most loving, loyal, trustworthy person I have ever known."
Ellen DeGeneres addressed the scandal in Season 18 of her show. (Getty)
"She’s a very special human being," shared de Rossi. "Some of it sometimes rubs off on me."
"We’re lucky to have each other," DeGeneres added.
Back in September, DeGeneres kicked off Season 18 of her show by addressing the accusations of a toxic work environment, which plagued the host’s reputation for months.
"As you may have heard, this summer there were allegations of a toxic work environment at our show and then there was an investigation. I learned that things happened here that never should have happened," she began.
DeGeneres continued: "I take that very seriously and I want to say I am so sorry to the people who were affected. I know that I'm in a position of privilege and power and I realized that with that comes responsibility, and I take responsibility for what happens at my show."
"This is 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show.' I am Ellen DeGeneres. My name is there, my name is there, my name is on underwear," the host joked. "We have had a lot of conversations over the last few weeks about the show, our workplace and what we want for the future. We have made the necessary changes and today we are starting a new chapter."
DeGeneres then addressed accusations that she is much different on-air than in person despite her pledge to "be kind."
The phrase "be kind" was initially brought up by the host in 2010 to bring awareness to Tyler Clementi, who committed suicide as a teenager after he was bullied for being gay.
"There were also articles in the press and on social media that said that I am not who I appeared to be on TV because I became known as the ‘be kind’ lady. And here's how that happened: I started saying, ‘Be kind to one another’ after a young man named Tyler Clementi took his own life after being bullied for being gay," DeGeneres said.
She added: "I thought the world needed more kindness and it was a reminder that we all needed that, and I think we need it more than ever right now."
Ellen DeGeneres (right) was diagnosed with the coronavirus last year. (Reuters)
"Being known as the ‘be kind’ lady is a tricky position to be in. So let me give you some advice out there if anybody's thinking of changing their title or giving yourself a nickname, do not go with the ‘be kind’ lady. Don't do it," DeGeneres jokingly added.
She took on a more serious tone as she said, "The truth is I am that person that you see on TV. I am that person that you see on TV. I am also a lot of other things. Sometimes I get sad, I get mad, I get anxious, I get frustrated, I get impatient. I am working on all of that. I am a work in progress. I’m especially working on the impatience thing, and it’s not going well because it’s not happening fast enough, I’ll tell you that."