Ellen DeGeneres has recalled being sexually assaulted as a teenager in an emotional interview with David Letterman.
The television host opened up about a ‘very bad man’ who married her mum, Betty DeGeneres, when Ellen was only a teenager.
Speaking in the new series of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman, the 61-year-old explained how this man used her mother’s illness to sexually assault her.
You can watch the trailer for season two of the show below:
Ellen explains in one episode of the new season how, just after her mum married the man, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and had to have one of her breasts removed.
As per Entertainment Tonight, the television host explained how the man used this information to sexually assault her:
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.
Again, ’cause 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.
Going into more detail about what happened, Ellen told Letterman how the man then ‘tried to break my door down,’ after which she ‘kicked the window out and ran’ because she knew it was going to turn into something more.
Ellen then explained how she didn’t want to tell her mum because she was ‘protecting’ her and ‘knew that would ruin her happiness’.
The 61-year-old 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 because I want other girls to not ever let someone do that.
The TV personality went on to say she ‘should never have protected her [Betty],’ explaining how when she did tell her mum, she didn’t believe her and stayed with the man for another 18 years. Eventually, her mum left him because he’d changed the story so many times.
Despite saying Betty is apologetic for not believing her daughter, Ellen says she wishes she would have believed her at the time.
DeGeneres hopes her story will help other victims of sexual assault come forward, saying:
We [women] just don’t feel like we’re worthy, or we’re scared to have a voice, and we’re scared to say no. 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.
Season two of My Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman premieres on Netflix on Friday (May 31).
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 (12-2:30 and 7-9:30).
Alternatively you can contact Victim Support on 08 08 16 89 111. Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on its website or on its helpline – 0808 800 5005.
A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).