Ellen DeGeneres Says She Wishes She ‘Would’ve Come Out Sooner’

If she could turn back time. Ellen DeGeneres revealed in a new interview that she wishes she had come out as gay sooner than she did.

The talk show host, 59, made the revelation while speaking with Matt Lauer for the Friday, May 5, episode of the Today show. Lauer, 59, started the conversation by asking DeGeneres if she feels any differently about her decision to show her Ellen sitcom character, Ellen Morgan, revealing her sexuality to news producer Susan (Laura Dern) during the ABC series’ April 30, 1997, episode.

Ellen Degeneres, winner of mulitple awards, poses in the press room during the People's Choice Awards 2017 at Microsoft Theater on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Ellen Degeneres, winner of mulitple awards, poses in the press room during the People's Choice Awards 2017 at Microsoft Theater on January 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

“I was anticipating it being a charged episode, which it was, because it was making a big decision to come out and to be honest and to stop hiding something that I kept secret for so long,” she said. “It was a big deal.”

DeGeneres also came out herself on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1997, and explained how it took a toll on her both personally and professionally. Around the same time, she opened up about being gay in a groundbreaking cover story for Time magazine as well.

According to the Finding Dory voice actress, her real-life and TV revelations about being a lesbian were long overdue. “I look back on it now and I think, I wish I would’ve done it sooner,” she told Lauer. “I wish I hadn’t waited so long, but it was what it was.”

Despite her regret, DeGeneres said in a November 2016 cover story interview with Out magazine that she has never felt better about herself since sharing her truth.

“I wasn’t sure if I was going to work again, and although I was out, I was still trying to alter myself — not dressing the way I wanted to dress or wearing my hair the way I wanted to,” the Funny Thing Is… author — who married wife Portia de Rossi in 2008 — shared. “I slowly gained the confidence to be authentic, and what I’ve learned about other people is that they strive to be authentic, too. So whether they fully support me, love my lifestyle, or love that I’m married to a woman. I think they like that authenticity, and they’re drawn to it.”

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