Portia de Rossi Opens Up About Her Love for Art and Wife Ellen DeGeneres

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Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres attend General Public x RH Celebration at Restoration Hardware in Los Angeles on June 27, 2018. Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for RH

Portia de Rossi believes that people’s perceptions of same-sex marriage changed for the better when she tied the knot with Ellen DeGeneres in 2008. But some negativity ensued, too.

“The divorce rumors came and then we really knew the perceptions had changed,” the Arrested Development star, 45, told Us Weekly exclusively at the General Public x RH Celebration in West Hollywood on Wednesday, June 27. “I’m not kidding. I know it sounds ridiculous, but when that started happening I thought, ‘Oh, now we’re finally accepted.’ We get the same s–t as every celebrity couple.”

Split rumors aren’t the only ones that de Rossi has faced. “I thought, ‘Wow, this is great that I’m pregnant, not pregnant, divorced, not divorced, whatever,” she added. “That means there is an acceptance for this.”

The actress said she and DeGeneres, 60, don’t necessarily laugh off the speculation. In fact, they try to ignore it completely.

“I was at a newsstand … and there was a cover of Brad [Pitt] and Jen [Aniston],” she recalled. “I literally just stared at it, and I was like, ‘They haven’t seen each other. … How is this even a thing? I know for a fact.’ … I actually took a picture of it and sent it to Ellen and said, ‘Can you believe this?’ Anyway, no, in other words, we avoid it. We don’t care.”

De Rossi also spoke with Us about launching The Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund in honor of her wife’s birthday in January. “All of it was a complete surprise, which was very difficult. It was so difficult to keep it from her,” she said. “She’s so observant. I literally had to take my email address off all of our shared devices at home … because I knew that if she saw an email coming in from Africa, it would be all over. She would put it all together.”

The philanthropist explained that she wanted to do something special for the TV host’s milestone day. “I thought this was a big birthday, 60, and she’s not going to do her talk show forever, and I want her to be able to look forward to retiring, to know that there was something the entertainment industry that she could sink her teeth into,” she told Us. “It was those two things.”

In addition, de Rossi opened up about how her company, General Public, partnered with Restoration Hardware. “I’m an art lover and collector. I wouldn’t call myself an expert, I’m just a fan,” she said. “I saw the disparity between the quality of art that you can get in the fine art market and decorative art that is available to most people. I just thought that it was kind of a shame that you have to be extremely interested in art — or interested enough to go to an art gallery or learn the art market — in order to get a better quality of art than what is available. I really wanted to bridge the gap a little and just introduce more artists into this kind of vortex in between and really support them because most of the art that you see that’s available at retail is made by graphic designers or computer generated. I wanted actual artists to be able to share their work.”

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