Ellen DeGeneres is kicking off season 15 of her talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, but she wasn’t always so freely available to celebrate herself. The Emmy-winning talk show host phoned in to On Air With Ryan Seacrest on Tuesday, September 5, and revealed that she was told to censor herself — specifically her sexuality.
"They didn’t think anyone would watch a lesbian during the day,” DeGeneres recalled. “[Keeping my sexuality quiet] was really not just implied it was verbal … I remember there was something that happened to my finger and I was in a relationship and I was going to say ‘we’ and they wouldn’t let me say ‘we.’”
DeGeneres added that she suffered with finding a balance with not losing her fans and also those who didn’t agree with her.“It felt horrible because I had worked so hard to be truthful and to come to terms of my shame of hiding something that I knew wasn’t wrong … It was a hard balance,” she said. “What’s more appealing than anything is honesty. … It means a lot of different things. It’s not just 15 years … it’s 15 years of me thinking I wouldn’t work again so it’s really a great accomplishment."
Season 15, the funnywoman added, will feature celebrity guests as well as focus on human interest.
“It seems to me we kind of are focusing more on human interest … I like having real people — not that celebrities aren’t real people — but everyday heroes that would not otherwise get a spotlight shown on them,” she shared. “It feels like I’m contributing.”
The Ellen DeGeneres Show airs weekly on NBC. Listen to the full interview above.