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Ellen DeGeneres was born on January 26, 1958 in New Orleans. Her father was an insurance salesman and her mother Betty, was a working mom. Early on, Ellen loved animals and wanted to be a Veterinarian but she herself decided she was not "book smart" enough.
Ellen's parents divorced when Ellen was young teenager. She and her mom moved to Texas while her older brother Vance stayed in New Orleans with their father. Ellen used humor early on with her mom to help her out of a very sad time in her life which brought the mother and daughter closer. Ellen admits she was molested at the age of 16 or 17 by her step-father. She says that she knew she was a lesbian way before the molestation but has come out publicly about it to help other teenage girls that might be going through the same experiences.
She took on many types of jobs. Ellen waited tables, sold vacuum cleaners, painted houses and was even a legal secretary. Her older brother Vance was the creator of "Mr. Bill" from Saturday Night Live. He was always known for the funny one in the family. Then one time she found herself at a speaking engagement and was terrified by the crowds. She used humor and was an immediate hit. She began getting offers to do stand up.
Ellen started her stand up career in 1981. Her mother, Betty was very supportive during this time in her career. In 1986, word began to get around about this funny stand up comedian and through a tip from Jay Leno, an agent from The Tonight Show, starring Johnny Carson was sent to see her act. She was invited that same year to appear on the show with Johnny Carson. After Ellen's act, Johnny motioned to her to sit on his couch. This was the first time a female comedian was invited to sit on the couch after their act. She was a hit and became a star.
Ellen began making the talk show circuit including but not limited to, David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Oprah, and Larry King.
In 1994 she began her own sitcom called "These Friends Of Mine", which later was changed to "Ellen". In April of 1997, Ellen's character on the show came out as a lesbian. She earned an Emmy for that episode but because of the criticism, she lost sponsors like Daimler Chrysler, her show was then cancelled in 1998.
Ellen had already found fame and was in a number of other films and television appearances. She starred in "Mr Wrong", in 1996, was on EdTV with Matthew McConaughey, "If These Walls Could Talk 2", where she co-starred with Sharon Stone and had a love scene with her, she also had a role in hit animation movie, "Finding Nemo", where she did voice-over for the Dory character.
In 2004, she won two Emmys for her stand up special, "Here and Now". Ellen also wrote two books, "My Point...And I Do Have One" in 1995 and "The Funny Thing Is..." in 2004.
She had a high profile break up with actress Anne Heche in August of 2000, she dated Alexandra Hedison for a few years before finding the love of her life Portia de Rossi in December 2004. They married on August 16th 2008 and was one of the highest profile gay marriages.
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