In an upcoming episode of the Netflix show, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres spoke about how she was sexually molested by her then-stepfather as a teenager.
In the interview, which releases this Friday, DeGeneres said that the abuse started after her mother, Betty, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
“My mother had had breast cancer right after they got married,” she said. “So she had a breast removed, and they had a very, very sexual relationship, which was also very uncomfortable for me. And he told me when she was out of town that he’d felt a lump in her breast and needed to feel my breasts because he didn’t want to upset her, but he needed to feel mine. Anyway, he convinced me that he needs to feel my breasts and then he tries to do it again another time, and then another time."
The comedian told her mother eventually who didn't believe her at first; she stayed married to the "bad man" for 18 more years finally leaving him eventually after he kept changing his side of the story.
"I always have taken care of her my whole life. So I just kept taking care of her. I didn't really let it get to me," she said, according to ET. "Until recently, I kind of went, 'I wish I would have been better taken care of. I wish she would have believed me.' And she's apologetic, but, you know…"
DeGeneres first opened up about the abuse in a 2005 interview with Allure but said she's also speaking about the ordeal publicly now to empower other survivors of abuse who might be considering coming forward: "I'm angry at myself because, you know, I was too weak to stand up to, I was 15 or 16. It's a really horrible, horrible story and the only reason I'm actually going to go into detail about it is because I want other girls to not ever let someone do that."
"When I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren't believed," she added,"because we just don't make stuff up."