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Portia de Rossi Recalls Being Afraid to Reveal Ellen DeGeneres Relationship

A moving story. Portia de Rossi made an appearance on her wife Ellen DeGeneres’ show to talk about coming out to her grandmother when she and DeGeneres, 64, began dating over 17 years ago.

Related: Ellen DeGeneres and Portia de Rossi: A Timeline of Their Relationship

During the Monday, May 2, episode, de Rossi, 49, explained that her grandmother was a big fan of DeGeneres’ eponymous sitcom and “wouldn’t miss an episode until the episode where she [DeGeneres] came out.” The Arrested Development star revealed that from that day on, her grandmother would say “that disgusting woman” when advertisements for DeGeneres’ show aired.

“That didn’t bode well for me,” said de Rossi, who says she was “closeted” at the time.

Portia de Rossi Recalls Being Afraid to Reveal Ellen DeGeneres Relationship
Portia de Rossi and Ellen DeGeneres Shutterstock

A native of Australia, de Rossi later moved to Los Angeles where she met and began a relationship with DeGeneres. She told her grandmother about her new love interest during a visit home. “I sat by gran’s chair at her feet,” the actress explained on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. “She said to me, ‘Are you seeing anyone special?’”

Related: Ellen DeGeneres Through the Years

De Rossi said that at that point, her grandmother already knew she was living with DeGeneres and she told her, “Gran, I’m with Ellen.”

De Rossi’s grandmother, who was 99 at the time, put her head in her hands. “I thought, ‘That’s it, I’ve killed my grandmother,’” the Ally McBeal actress joked. But then her grandmother, de Rossi recalled, “Just looked at me and she goes, ‘Well, I love you just the same.’”

DeGeneres revealed that de Rossi’s grandmother had their wedding picture next to her bed until she passed away at 103. “My grandmother meant everything to me, we were actually born on the same day,” she said.

The Ellen DeGeneres Show, which has been on the air since 2003, will have its final episode on May 26. De Rossi got emotional talking about the talk show’s impending finale. “I can’t believe it’s nearly over. It’s been such a huge part of our lives,” she said.

Related: Ellen DeGeneres Show's Final Season: Everything to Know

DeGeneres then asked de Rossi if she has any advice for what her next career move should be. “Honestly, I just want you to do something that makes you really happy,” de Rossi replied. She mentioned stand-up comedy and said that she hopes DeGeneres finds a way to continue being “a teacher because that’s really what you’ve been for everybody. I just feel like more than ever, we need love and light and laughter.”

On April 28, DeGeneres tweeted that she had finished taping the final episode of her show. “My goal was always for the show to be a place where we could all come together and laugh for an hour. Being invited into your lives has been the greatest privilege of my life and has brought me incredible joy. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you,” she wrote.

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