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Ellen DeGeneres says she couldn't have made it through 'horrible time' without Portia

The talk show host opened up about how the support of her wife helped her navigate a scandal-filled year.
Image: 2017 MTV Video Music Awards - Roaming Show
Ellen DeGeneres tell People that her wife, Portia de Rossi, got her through “a horrible time” in her life amid last year’s scandal.Kevin Mazur / WireImage
/ Source: TODAY

While a global pandemic, social unrest and polarizing presidential politics dominated the news in 2020, Ellen DeGeneres found herself making headlines in the midst of it all — and not the funny or charitable kind she’d long been used to.

It all started last summer, when current and former employees of the talk show that bears her name described it being a toxic workplace and described DeGeneres as falling far short of her “be kind” motto on set.

In a new interview, the host says the scandal broke her heart, and she credits her wife of 12 years, Portia de Rossi, for helping her through it all.

“I couldn't have gone through everything I went through without her," DeGeneres told People magazine.

Image: 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards - Arrivals
Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres attend the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on January 5, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California.Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

Publicly, a trio of executive producers parted ways with “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” and the host herself issued apologies for the alleged culture of racism, fear and intimidation that existed behind the scenes. Privately, DeGeneres struggled more than she’d let on — at least more than she’d let on to anyone other than de Rossi.

"It was a horrible time in my life, and she was a rock,” the 63-year-old shared. “She kept me going and tried to help me put things in perspective."

But none of that came as a surprise to DeGeneres, because as she told People for the magazine’s first annual Love Issue, she already knew how amazing her wife was.

“I really love everything about her,” she raved in a video portion of the interview. “To start superficially, I love the way she looks, because that’s where it started. You have to look at somebody all the time, so I was already attracted to her. And I love her brain, I love the way she thinks; she’s smart — that’s really important. She’s strong, she’s confident, she’s really funny, she’s a good dresser and a good dancer. ... It’s just ridiculous but I love everything about her.”

In return, de Rossi, 48, called DeGeneres “the kindest, most generous, most loving, loyal, trustworthy person I have ever known.”

"We're lucky to have each other," DeGeneres told the publication. "We practice a lot of gratitude."