The twosome first met at a party in 2000, but it wasn’t until 2004 that they would become more than just acquaintances. Their relationship, which began after VH1’s Big in ’04 awards show, gave de Rossi the confidence she needed to publicly come out as gay.
“I’ve had my years of being not open, many years of it,” she told the Advocate in August 2005, despite previously being linked to ex Francesca Gregorini. “It’s an honor for me to do this; it’s just nice to be asked.”
The Ally McBeal alum added: “I ran into Ellen at a photo shoot about a year ago and she took my breath away. That had never happened to me in my life, where I saw somebody and [experienced] all of those things you hear about in songs and read about in poetry. My knees were weak. It was amazing. And it was very hard for me to get her out of my mind after that … we just were kind of supposed to be together … I just couldn’t ignore the feelings I had for Ellen.”
DeGeneres, meanwhile, has often been outspoken about her love for de Rossi.
“Portia understands me completely. In our vows, she recited a quote — ‘It is good to be loved. It is profound to be understood’ — and to me, that’s everything. What ‘I love you’ really means is ‘I understand you,’ and she loves me for everything that I am,” the talk show host gushed to Good Housekeeping in 2017. She supports me and makes me happy.”
Scroll down to take a look back at de Rossi and DeGeneres’ relationship timeline.