With a marriage that’s lasted more than ten years, Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi are one of Hollywood’s most cherished couples. After meeting in the early 2000s, sparks flew immediately between the Ally McBeal actress and the talk-show host, who have been making headlines together ever since.
They don’t live out their lives for the world to see through a camera, in the style of reality TV, but they’re also not shy when it comes to gushing about one another. Ellen has even had Portia as a guest on her show, where they’ve revealed all kinds of things about their marriage to the studio audience and millions of adoring fans around the world.
From Portia’s most recent interview on the show, we know that this couple might have more in common with the average pair of spouses than we thought—for Ellen’s birthday in January, Portia skipped the Lamborghinis and private jets and bought her wife some gardening tools.
Though they have their normal moments, and their relationship is built on love, respect and friendship, Ellen and Portia also go through highs and lows that few other married couples can totally empathize with. Keep reading to find out 23 details about the marriage between Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi!
23 They Loved Each Other From The Beginning
One of the most romantic aspects of Ellen and Portia’s relationship is that they loved each other from the very beginning. Not everyone believes in love at first sight, but these two sure do! According to Screen Rant, the A-listers first met at VH1’s Big in ’04 Awards and completely hit it off.
Both have explained that they were overcome with strong feelings for each other and knew that something special had happened. Interestingly, Portia wasn’t open about her preferences and lifestyle at the time, but meeting Ellen helped her gain the confidence to explore and feel comfortable with her true self.
22 Their First Date Was Extremely Low Key
Ellen and Portia do nothing in halves today, but their first date after meeting at the VH1 awards was significantly more low key. Because Portia wasn’t open with her family and the public about her orientation at the time, the two decided to do something that would not involve paparazzi and lots of other people.
Screen Rant reports that for their first date, they drove around the city in a car, chatting and getting to know each other. This allowed them to stay out of the spotlight while also getting the chance to have a real conversation and find out more about each other.
21 Their First Kiss Was Very Hollywood
While their first date was very casual, their first kiss was much more glam. Ellen and Portia first kissed after the MTV Video Awards while they were returning from the event in a limo. It doesn’t get much more Hollywood than that!
Although Ellen doesn’t like to reveal every single detail about her personal life, she has alluded to the moment on her show. During an infamous game of ‘Never Have I Ever’ which she played with Rihanna and George Clooney, Ellen confirmed (along with her two guests) that she had indeed turned up the romance in a limo.
20 They’re Not The Same Age
Ellen and Portia look perfect together, so it might come as a surprise that there’s an age gap between them. At 61 years old, Ellen is 15 years older than Portia, who was born in 1976. But the gap hasn’t caused an issue for Ellen and Portia, so it shouldn’t be a problem for anybody else!
Though there is a decade and a half between them, they share the important things in common and still feel that they are soulmates. According to Screen Rant, the only time it’s even come up is when the two of them were briefly considering having children together.
19 A Surprise Commitment Ceremony Was In The Works
Before the California Supreme Court made it legal for Ellen and Portia to marry, Ellen had another plan up her sleeve to take her relationship with Portia to the next level. She wanted to surprise Portia with a commitment ceremony, which was going to take place at their joint birthday party (since they were both born in January).
However, Ellen eventually realized that marriage would be a bigger step to take and was over the moon when the law made that possible. But we can imagine that Portia would have received the surprise of her life if the commitment ceremony had gone ahead!
18 Ellen Announced Their Engagement In The Best Way
These days, most celebrities follow the trend of announcing their engagements and other milestones in their lives on social media. But Ellen and Portia got hitched in the days when social media was really just starting to take off, and Ellen announced their engagement to the world in a much more iconic way.
It seemed like a natural move for the talk-show host to reveal the big news where she feels the most comfortable: on her show. This is one of those moments that highlights how open and close Ellen really is with her audience and fans, and how she wants to include them in all the important occasions of her life.
17 Their Wedding Took Place At Home
The engagement announcement was iconic, and so was the wedding. Though Ellen and Portia chose to stick to a humbler, more authentic ceremony than a big event complete with multiple outfit changes and TV crews, the photos and videos make it seem like the night was magical.
There were only 19 people invited to their August 2008 nuptials, which took place at their home. Of course, the paparazzi tried to invade the property and get footage, so Ellen beat them to the punch and shared photos from the ceremony on her talk show. Both Ellen and Portia donned charming all-white ensembles.
16 When Ellen Met Portia, She Wasn’t Exactly Single
It may have been love at first sight, but when Ellen and Portia first met, it wasn’t magic for everybody. At the time, Ellen actually had a different girlfriend, a woman named Alexandra Hedison. Screen Rant reports that the two had even celebrated a commitment ceremony together.
Eventually, Ellen broke it off with Alexandra to start things up with Portia, but it all worked out for the best because Alexandra went on to start a relationship with Jodie Foster. Ellen has opened up about that time in her life, and while she’s sorry that she hurt Alexandra, she couldn’t ignore her developing feelings for Portia.
15 They’ve Dealt With Bad Press
The upside to being an A-lister in love is that you have endless cash and connections to hold the most romantic wedding imaginable and create a truly lavish love nest. The downside, though, is that the press won’t stop publishing rumors about you.
After they married in 2008, Ellen and Portia became a big topic, and rumors continued to circulate, speculating that they were on the verge of a breakup. But despite all the talk, neither Ellen nor Portia has ever confirmed that a split is imminent and mostly take the high road, choosing to ignore what the papers write about them.
14 They Have Lots Of Fur Babies
One thing that Ellen and Portia have always had in common is their love for animals. Screen Rant reports that between them, they are the proud mothers of four dogs called Auggie, Wolf, Mabel, and Kid), and three cats called Charlie, George, and Chairman. Most of their pets are rescues, as both stars feel that more needs to be done to protect animals that don’t have homes.
Ellen is also the part owner of a pet food company called Halo Purely for Pets and often uses her show to discuss animal issues. “I wish we lived in a world where caring for animals wasn't so rare that it deserved an award,” Ellen said in a statement (via Nicki Swift).
13 This Isn’t Portia’s First Marriage
While Portia’s marriage to Ellen is the first one in her life to make headlines, it’s not the first one in her life period. For three years, Portia was married to a filmmaker named Mel Metcalfe, although many fans speculated that the union wasn’t based on true love.
Ellen was also involved with Johnathon Schaech during the 1990s before she was open with the public about her true orientation. Both spouses now know what it’s like to be in a relationship that doesn’t make them truly happy, which may be why they appear to appreciate each other all the more.
12 Lies Have No Place In Their Relationship
Ellen and Portia’s marriage is over 10 years old, and they’re still going strong. Many fans are desperate to know what their trick is, and on occasion, the two get candid about how they approach their relationship and make it work. According to Screen Rant, Ellen and Portia are very serious about keeping lies out of their relationship.
They don’t tell big lies or small lies or white lies. They’re honest with each other at all times about absolutely everything. While that might lead to some uncomfortable conversations every now and then, it sure does seem to be working well for them.
11 Their Holidays Are Gift-Less
Another policy that Ellen and Portia have adopted to keep their relationship as strong as possible is that they keep gifts and presents out of the picture. Since their success has paved the way for them to have everything they could ever want anyway, all they need to give each other now is love and respect.
That means that on Christmas, Valentine’s Day and even birthdays, they simply don’t exchange gifts. This is a rule that does have exceptions, though, as for Ellen’s 60th birthday, Portia gifted her a gorilla sanctuary. And on Ellen's 61st, Portia took a much more mundane route and bought her wife gardening tools.
10 They Play Pranks On Each Other
They feel the pressure from living their lives in the spotlight, and so Ellen and Portia like to keep things fun and light-hearted in their relationship, perhaps to balance out all that tension. Everyone knows that Ellen loves a good prank, as evidenced by all the jokes she plays on guests and audience members on her talk show.
And her love of practical jokes extends to her marriage. On one occasion, Ellen is said to have hidden in a cupboard for two hours just to prank Portia and had no idea that at the same time, Portia was already hiding in a closet to prank her.
9 Puzzles Are Their Favorite Pastime
Even when you have all the money you could want, it’s the simple things that you appreciate most. One of Ellen and Portia’s favorite pastimes together is puzzles. They spend a lot of their time at home working on larger puzzles together because it allows them to give their brains a workout while also developing their relationship.
After all, puzzles can be pretty frustrating to put together, and doing it with someone you love can certainly test your patience with them! The couple has some pretty famous friends, so who knows—maybe they throw A-list puzzle parties in their mansions!
8 Together, They’re Accumulating And Decorating A Long List Of Mansions
Speaking of mansions, Ellen and Portia have a few! The talk show host was said to be worth a cool $450 million in 2018, so understandably, the couple has quite a bit of cash to splash on lavish homes. Besides doing puzzles, one of their other favorite pastimes is buying new homes and decorating them.
Having a nice house (or several nice houses) means a lot to Ellen since this wasn’t a luxury she had while growing up. “We always rented. But my father would dream, and we used to look at houses all the time,” she told People in 2011 (via Nicki Swift). “I'd pick out which bedroom would be mine and get all excited."
7 They’re Always There For Each Other
In Portia’s book, Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain, she goes into detail about how she is always there to help Ellen through her struggles, and similarly, Ellen is always there for her.
Both women lead very busy work schedules and have incredibly successful professional lives, so finding the time to work on their relationship and support each other is tough sometimes. But they always make an effort to be there for one another and have worked out a joint personal schedule that gives them the couple time they need. According to Screen Rant, they have taught each other “how to be more confident” in life.
6 They Follow The Same Eating Plan
Being animal activists, Ellen and Portia also follow a vegan diet, meaning they don’t eat anything made from animal products. The pair officially became vegan back in 2008, the year they got hitched, and have never thought twice about it.
Ellen was the first to make the move to a vegan lifestyle after she educated herself on factory farming and the inhumane treatment of animals. In 2012, Portia even wrote an essay on the subject. Ellen often talks about her veganism on her show, and when asked by guest Wendy Williams how she lives without bacon, she revealed that she thinks pigs are smart animals.
5 Portia Took Ellen’s Name
We know them as Elle DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi, but in actual fact, these two spouses share a surname. For work and publicity purposes, Portia is still Portia de Rossi. But on paper, she is now Portia Lee James DeGeneres. It became official in 2010 when she completed all the paperwork, two years after marrying Ellen.
Name-changing can be a touchy subject in Hollywood since many celebrities are worried about losing all that hard-earned fame by changing their names. Even if they do change their names on paper, they normally retain their "stage" or maiden names for work purposes.
4 It Doesn’t Look Like Babies Are In The Cards
In addition to speculation that they’re headed for a split, Ellen and Portia also constantly face worldwide curiosity about whether or not they’re going to have children. And as of 2019, it looks like babies won’t be in the cards for this couple. Back in 2011, Ellen wrote in her book, Seriously… I’m Kidding, that kids aren’t going to happen for them, and that’s mostly because there are too many breakable things in their house!
There’s no doubt that they’d make fantastic parents, but we’re sure Ellen and Portia are making the right decision for them. While human babies aren’t for them, they have more than enough fur babies already.
3 They Have Faced Big Battles Together
Since they’ve been together, both Ellen and Portia have had to overcome challenges that stretch beyond rumors in the press. One of the biggest battles to come their way was the California wildfire that struck Ellen’s home in Montecito. In the end, Ellen had to leave her house behind and evacuate all the pets.
“We’ll just lay low and just, you know, be grateful for having our pets with us and Portia’s horses are evacuated and we’re hoping to get them someplace soon, and it’s, you know, it takes something like this to just remember, you know, just how fragile life is, and how you should never take anything for granted,” said Ellen (via E! News).
2 They Both Overcame Tough Times Before Finding Each Other
Ellen and Portia also had to face their fair share of battles before they fell in love, and it’s possible that the strength they developed through those tough times was something they could later bond over.
Ellen’s childhood was burdened by financial struggles and her parents’ divorce, which took a toll on her. At one point, she even had to save her mother from the men she was dating and says she had to become an adult at the age of 13 to watch over her mother. And Portia didn’t have an easy ride either, struggling with her body image and self-confidence issues as she tried to make it in Hollywood.
1 Friendship Is The Key To Their Relationship
There may not be one single factor that has made Ellen and Portia’s marriage last this long, but there’s no doubt that having a relationship that’s based on friendship has definitely helped them to maintain their bond. Ellen and Portia have more than just sparks flying between them—they genuinely like each other and get along, which sounds like a given, but many relationships don’t have that aspect to them.
They both work in the entertainment industry, they both love animals, and they’re best friends. “I just want to be with her all the time,” Portia said in 2016. “She’s just so awesome. Who wouldn’t want to be with Ellen all the time?”
Sources: E Online, Nicki Swift, Screen Rant