Ellen DeGeneres: I nearly quit comedy after testosterone-fuelled men turned their backs on me
Ellen DeGeneres made history when she came out as a lesbian in the 1990s.
The comic was the first openly gay prime-time star in America – breaking down barriers for many LGBT stars who have followed.
But she has now revealed she nearly quit comedy after a nightmare gig.
In 1997 she appeared on the cover of Time magazine and gave an interview to the Oprah Winfrey show, opening up about her sexuality.
20 years on Ellen has spoken to Time reflecting on her coming out, and how a string of homophobic performers nearly ended her career.
Ellen told the magazine: “There was a night in particular that there were two guys on before me and their stuff was very homophobic – slamming women in every kind of way.
“And no one knew that I was gay necessarily, it was just a very angry testosterone-filled crowd by the time I got on stage.
“The entire front row of guys got up and turned their chairs around and faced the audience.
“That was a night that I thought I would never do comedy again.
“And I don’t know where those guys are now, but they didn’t get the Medal of Freedom.”
Watch the full video below:
After coming out her sitcom was axed, meanwhile religious groups began to protest outside their local ABC stations to take Ellen off air.
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Despite struggling for a number of years, Ellen is now one of the most famous people in the world.
“Anger and aggression weaken you, because they take so much energy to hold in place,” she said.
“But kindness is a strength [that] makes you more serene.”