Actress Portia de Rossi has said she was too frightened for years to admit she was a lesbian.

De Rossi is now married to television presenter Ellen DeGeneres but has revealed that she thought coming out would mean the end of her acting career.

Speaking to Oprah Winfrey in the couple’s first interview since their 2008 wedding in California, de Rossi said she knew her partner was “the one” when she first met her.

But she added: “It took me three years to actually tell her how I felt about her because I was on Ally McBeal at the time and I was not living as an openly gay person.

“I was closeted and very, very afraid that if I talked about being gay, it would be the end of my career, so I wasn’t about to then date the most famous lesbian in the world.”

DeGeneres said: “She is so beautiful and so smart and so funny. I have that sense of ‘I’m done now.’ I’m settled.

“I know that part of my life is taken care of. I’ve got love. I’ve got someone who will be with me till the day I die.”

The couple married on August 16th, 2008 in a small ceremony in their home just a few months before California voters stripped gay couples of the right to wed.