One of the most successful and popular talk show hosts of all time, Ellen DeGeneres is steadily leaving a legacy behind her in the entertainment industry.
Promoting ideals such as kindness and acceptance, the TV personality has found success across several industries and has also found happiness in her private life. It’s the combination of her professional accomplishments, inspiring attitude toward life, and honesty about it all that we think makes Ellen a true role model.
Most fans know how well The Ellen DeGeneres Show has done and that Ellen is an author and an activist as well as a comedian and a talk show host. But the details of her personal life are perhaps less well known, even among her fans and viewers.
Ellen isn’t one to hide much, but she doesn’t often talk a lot about what she experienced before she made it big or about other exciting quirks that make up her life, like the fact that she’s related to a huge celebrity and that she had her own ride at Walt Disney World.
There’s certainly much more to Ellen than meets the eye! Check out these 20 facts that only Ellen’s viewers really know about her personal life.
20 She’s Related To One Of The World’s Biggest Stars
The family history experts at Ancestry recently found out some pretty interesting information about Ellen! It turns out that she a pop legend Madonna are actually related—they have the same 10th great-grandfather. Martin Aucoin, who lived in the early 1600s, had two daughters who left France to settle in Nova Scotia, where their families remained for several generations.
In the late 1700s, Ellen’s fifth great-grandfather Joseph Martin moved to Louisiana, and in the 1870s, Madonna’s second great-grandmother Emilie Daniel moved to Michigan. We guess that impressive dance moves run in the family! Interestingly, Ellen and Madonna were born in the same year and have found similar success in the entertainment industry.
19 One Of The Biggest Sitcoms Of All Time Wanted Her
It’s hard to imagine the sitcom Friends with the main cast made up of anyone other than the famous six: Jennifer Aniston, Courtney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry, and David Schwimmer. But it just might have been different, because according to Eternally Sunny, Ellen was offered a role on the show.
She turned it down, which sounds like a monumental mistake to anyone who’s a fan of the show. But it looks like Ellen didn’t need Friends to find success—today she’s reached heights that other comedians don’t dare dream of, so we seriously doubt she has many regrets!
18 She Was The Star Of An Epcot Attraction At Walt Disney World
Not many people can say that they were the star of their own Disney attraction! Ellen’s Energy Adventure, originally called Ellen’s Energy Crisis, operated at Disney World’s Epcot and featured a number of brief films about energy. The films starred Ellen, of course, and Bill Nye.
In 2017, the attraction closed down to make way for a Guardians of the Galaxy attraction, but still. That’s a pretty impressive achievement! The ride was set inside Ellen’s brain, where audience members could learn about energy in an exciting way on Ellen’s quest for knowledge from Bill, her friend, neighbor and, for this ride, science tutor!
17 The 'Annabelle' Apartment Was Once Her Home
It looks like Ellen’s life isn’t all sunshine and roses after all! Eternally Sunny revealed that the talk show host once lived in the apartment that was used in the 2014 film Annabelle. The scariest part about it is that Ellen said that the apartment used to scare her while she was living in it!
It was the first place she lived in after moving to Los Angeles and looked eerily familiar when she first watched the movie. Ellen has also been known to use Annabelle replica dolls to play her famous practical jokes on her staff members, so clearly, she wasn’t too affected by the movie!
16 She Won’t Let Being A Celebrity Get In The Way Of Her Manners
According to industry insiders, Ellen doesn’t believe that being a celebrity puts her above the need to use good manners. She still uses professionalism and punctuality by treating everyone around her with respect and showing up early for interviews and photo shoots.
To be honest, we had a feeling that Ellen didn’t think that her fame made her better than anyone else! Anyone who watches her show knows that her favorite piece of advice to give to viewers is “be kind to one another,” and that should give us an idea of the warm-hearted person that she is!
15 Football Is One Of Her Biggest Passions
We know that Ellen is a comedic genius with a lot of passions, but not all fans know that football is one of the things she is most passionate about. Of course, she follows the New Orleans Saints, but she is also a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers.
In 2011, she even attended a practice session with the team and, in typical Ellen fashion, turned up the comedy by dressing up as Packers Hall of Fame member Don Hutson. She has also had a few aspiring and successful football players as guests on her show, which we assume was super exciting for her!
14 Animals Are Her Weakness
Ellen may love football, but one of her biggest passions in life is animals. As a child, Ellen dreamed of becoming a veterinarian but didn’t think she had good enough grades to pursue that path. In 2008, she and wife Portia de Rossi became vegans, meaning they don’t consume any animal products (including dairy).
Today, the couple shares a variety of pets and shower their dogs, horses, and cows in lots of love. Ellen was named PETA’s Woman of the Year in 2009 and always promotes animal rights on her show, as well as trying to raise awareness for charities that help animals in need.
13 She Wants To Inspire Survivors Of Tough Times To Stay Strong
Although Ellen has built her success off of being funny and entertaining, her life hasn’t been as pleasant as fans may believe. She went through a few tough years in her childhood and teens and now wants to use her platform to inspire those who have experienced similar things to stay strong and seek help.
“I was 15 years old. I’m not even going into the details—it doesn’t matter—but we are really vulnerable at that age, and we trust,” she explained of an experience she went through at the hands of a family member. She later added how important it is to speak out in situations like that.
12 Michelle Is Fitter Than Her
One of the most highly anticipated guests on Ellen’s show in 2012 was Michelle. During the interview, Ellen commented on the shape of Michelle’s arms, and a push-up competition soon ensued. After comparing exercise routines, the two decided to see who the real queen of push-ups was and got down to business right in front of the studio audience.
The several judges on hand concluded that Michelle was better at push-ups than Ellen! But we’re sure Ellen wasn’t too upset over it—we could think of worse things than coming in second to Michelle.
11 Her Family Has Other Funny Members In It
This probably comes as a huge surprise, but Ellen isn’t the token funny member of her family. According to Eighties Kids, Ellen’s brother Vance was always the joker of the family while Ellen was always off riding her bike around New Orleans and exploring new things.
It wasn’t until Ellen was 13 that she found out how funny she could be—she turned to humor at that age to help her cope with her parents’ divorce. The Ellen dance actually originated from Ellen trying to cheer up her mother, who always used to make fun of the way she danced.
10 She’s Only Ever Taken One Sick Day
Talk about dedicated! As of February 2019, there have been 2,751 episodes of The Ellen DeGeneres Show filmed, and in that time, Ellen has only ever missed one taping. With five episodes filmed a week, and 34 weeks of the year spent filming, that is quite an effort!
Ellen missed the show on January 24, 2014, when she was sick with the flu and couldn’t make the taping. Actress Ellie Kemper instead filled in hosting duties and interviewed guests Neil Patrick Harris and Hunter Hayes. The following Monday, Ellie appeared back on the show as a guest when Ellen was better.
9 Dory Was Written Specifically For Her
Those who don’t watch The Ellen DeGeneres Show perhaps know Ellen from her acting roles. One of her most famous roles was voicing Dory, the little blue forgetful fish in Finding Nemo. Dory ended up being such a fan favorite that she inspired a follow-up film several years later called Finding Dory.
According to Eighties Kids, the role of Dory was specifically written with Ellen in mind, which explains why all of Dory’s jokes are so Ellen-ish! Ellen had been wanting to do a sequel to Finding Nemo for years, so when the opportunity came up, she was the first one to jump on board!
8 Her Resume Is Quite Extensive
We’ve known Ellen as a talk show host, actress, and comedian for so long that it’s hard to imagine that she ever did anything else. But before she found success in the entertainment industry, Ellen actually had quite the extensive resume. She briefly worked as an oyster shucker in New Orleans, was briefly a bartender, a paralegal, a waitress at TGI Fridays, and even a demonstrator of vacuum cleaners.
Everything changed when her comedy career began in 1980 and she started performing in clubs and coffee shops. By 1981, she was MC at Clyde’s Comedy Club in New Orleans, and by 1982, she was named the Funniest Person in America by Showtime.
7 She Owns A Record Label
We know that Ellen is a star in front of the camera, but as it turns out, she’s also found success behind the scenes. Many fans don’t realize that Ellen has her own record label! She set up ‘eleveneleven’ back in 2010, and the first artist that she signed was Greyson Chance who was discovered on YouTube.
Other artists that Ellen has added to her label are Jessica Simpson and Charlie Puth and most of her artists’ music is distributed via Interscope Geffen A&M. Ellen revealed that the name of her label comes from the phenomenon of seeing 11:11 on the clock, which she frequently used to experience.
6 Several Celebrities Are Her Good Friends
Ellen brushes shoulders with anyone who’s anyone in the entertainment industry, so it’s not surprising that several of the celebrities she’s met now consider themselves good friends of hers. She’s talented enough to be able to keep the conversation flowing with just about anyone who comes onto her show, but you can tell that some of them are actually close with her behind the scenes too!
One of her friends is pop star Sia, who sang the theme song for Finding Dory at Ellen’s request. The song is called ‘Unforgettable’ as a nod to Dory’s memory problems.
5 She’s An Avid Watch Collector
It seems that Ellen is a collector of sorts. While others may collect stamps or dolls, Ellen loves to collect expensive watches, which we often see her wearing on her show. One of the most notable watches that she owns is a Rolex Yacht-Master 40 Everose.
She is also one of the few people to own a Cosmography Daytona—which would have set her back $175, 000—which she can be seen wearing in Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Ellen is also a collector of real estate and loves to furnish the homes she owns with Portia. Not surprising given her cozy set on Ellen!
4 Her Relationship With Anne Heche Tested Her Emotionally
Before falling in love with Portia de Rossi, Ellen was in a relationship with Anne Heche, which some say provoked her to truly embrace her identity in 1997. The two went through a high-profile breakup in 2000, and after Ellen spoke to the Los Angeles Times about it, it was clear that she put her heart on the line in that relationship.
“I don’t want to be a part of a soap opera anymore,” she said (via Nicki Swift). “That’s the key word—a soap opera is not real. I was in something that I thought was real.” Poor Ellen! Following this experience, Ellen was a lot more private about her relationship with Portia, especially in the beginning.
3 She’s Been The First Woman To Do A Lot Of Things
Ellen has a lot to be proud of. She’s won a lot of awards and earned several titles and even made a few world records. At this point in time, Ellen is the only woman in the history of the world to host both the Academy Awards and the Emmy Awards. The first time she hosted the Emmys was in 2001, and the second time was in 2005, only three weeks after Hurricane Katrina struck.
She was then selected to present the 79th Academy Awards the following year. She did an amazing job during all of her hosting duties and earned positive reviews from audience members, critics, and viewers at home.
2 Her Upbringing Was Very Traditional
A pioneer in many ways, Ellen was brought up in a surprisingly traditional way. In 2016, the talk-show host told Parade that her father had a role that was similar to a preacher in his church, which obviously affected the way she was raised.
“I didn’t see deep emotion from my parents,” she said (via Nicki Swift). “It was all very polite and very surface. I never knew how anybody was feeling … I never saw anyone angry—so when I was 13 and my parents divorced it was a huge surprise to me because I was told everything was fine. It was very confusing.”
1 She’s Worth A Casual $450 Million
It should come as no surprise that Ellen’s found financial success that others seldom dream of. Eighties Kids reports that, as of 2019, the TV personality is worth a casual $450 million. Just casually. She earns $70 million a year from her talk show and book sales, as well as her roles as producer and actress in other projects.
Aside from collecting watches and buying nice houses, Ellen is also a fine example of generosity in Hollywood. She is well-known for supporting charities that raise funds for a variety of causes, and we know that her studio audience is always treated to some exciting gift during filming. Pretty inspiring stuff!
Sources: Eternally Sunny, Nicki Swift, Eighties Kids, Tons Of Facts, Biography