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The public response after comedian and talk show host Ellen Degeneres came out in 1997 caused her to go into what she describes as a “deep, deep depression.”
The star’s once successful sitcom was cancelled in May of the following year without so much as a phone call – she heard the news after her assistant read it in a newspaper.
Towards the end of 1998 she told LA Times magazine that everything she ever feared had happened to her.
“I’ve been attacked like hell,” she said.
“When I walked out of the studio after five years of working so hard, knowing I had been treated so disrespectfully for no other reason than I was gay, I just went into this deep, deep depression.”
Ellen had trouble finding work, making just a handful of appearances in television shows and movies over the next couple of years.
“I felt sorry for myself, I felt like, ‘This isn’t fair, I thought people liked me, and why did this change anything, I’m still the same person,’” she told Barbara Walters in a 2007 interview.
“Everything felt horrible to me.”
Three years later Ellen decided to stop waiting for someone to give her a job, and wrote her hugely successful HBO special The Beginning, hoping that “they’ll see that I’m funny, and I’ll get a job.” The following year The Ellen Degeneres Show made its debut.
In her book Seriously… I’m Kidding, Ellen reflected on how failures and low points were all important parts of life.
“Happiness comes from within,” she wrote.
“You have the power to change your own mindset so that all the negative, horrible thoughts that try to invade your psyche are replaced with happy, positive, wonderful thoughts.”