NOTE: This article contains sexually graphic language and disturbing content. Please read at your own discretion.
In a nearly 60-minute-long episode, DeGeneres, 61, recounts the turmoil and mental trauma she experienced after she says she was sexually abused by her late stepfather.
This was the first time the much-loved daytime talk show host opened up about the experience in more than 14 years. DeGeneres first spoke about the abuse in an interview for Allure magazine in 2005.
While DeGeneres said she and Letterman “covered a lot more than (she) intended on covering,” she added that she was glad they discussed the events in more detail.
“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,” she said.
DeGeneres’ main intentions were to inspire other sexual assault survivors to speak out and share their own stories, according to USA Today.
DeGeneres said that her mother, Betty DeGeneres, married a “very bad man” when she was a teenager and that by the time she was 15 years old, he had assaulted them both.
When speaking with Allure, DeGeneres initially said her stepfather had groped her mother’s breasts under the guise that he was checking for lumps.
She claimed it wasn’t until her mother was actually diagnosed with breast cancer that her stepfather started assaulting her, too, according to CBS News.
“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,” DeGeneres said.
“He convinced me that he needed to feel my breasts and then he tried to do it again another time and then again another time.”
DeGeneres described an additional incident that resulted in her kicking out her bedroom window and fleeing her home after her stepfather allegedly attempted to break into her bedroom.
“He tried to break my door down, and I kicked the window out and ran ’cause I knew it was going to go more to something,” she said.
“I didn’t want to tell my mother because I was protecting her and I knew that would ruin her happiness.”
DeGeneres expanded on her story and how it affected her relationship with her mother, who didn’t believe her for more than 18 years before ultimately divorcing the alleged abuser.
“I’m angry at myself because … I was too weak to stand up to (him). I was 15. It’s a really horrible, horrible story,” she said.
DeGeneres also shared her frustration about victims of sexual abuse often not being believed.
“When I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren’t believed because we just don’t make stuff up,” DeGeneres said. “And I like men, but there are so many men that get away with so much.
“That’s the only reason I think it’s important to talk about it because there’s so many young girls (affected by it). It doesn’t matter how old you are.”
She continued: “It’s time for us to have a voice. It’s time for us to have power.”
DeGeneres recently extended her contract with The Ellen DeGeneres Show and has signed on for three more years. Instead of concluding at the end of 2019, the critically acclaimed talk show will continue through 2022.
The second season of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction premieres worldwide on May 31.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. You can also reach the centre toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.