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Brandi Carlile says Ellen DeGeneres inspired her to come out as a teen

Sofia Lotto Persio February 15, 2019
Brandi Carlile performed on the Ellen DeGeneres show on February 14.

Brandi Carlile performed her Grammy-winning song "The Joke" on the Ellen DeGeneres show on February 14. (ellentube)

Grammy winner Brandi Carlile has credited comedian Ellen DeGeneres for her decision to come out as a teenager.

Carlile performed an acoustic rendition of her song “The Joke” on The Ellen DeGeneres show on Thursday (February 14) and then sat down with the TV host for a brief interview.

The LGBT+ icons spoke about Carlile’s Grammy acceptance speech, in which she dedicated her victory to misfits like her and opened up about the consequences she faced for her decision to come out as a teenager. Carlile then told DeGeneres that she was the person who inspired her.

“I basically just outlined that I came out of the closet when I was 14 years old because of you,” the singer, who is now 37 years old, said.

“I never attended any parties, or was never invited to a dance or anything like that. And I said that being embraced by such an enduring and loving community was the dance fo the lifetime. And it really was,” she added.

DeGeneres famously came out in 1997 with a cover on Time magazine that read “Yep, I’m Gay.”

Brandi Carlile hugs Ellen DeGeneres.
Grammy-winning lesbian singer Brandi Carlile credited Ellen DeGeneres for her decision to come out at 14. (ellentube)

In her recent stand up special for Netflix, Relatable, the comedian opened up about the struggles she faced after coming out, from her popular sitcom—where her character too had come out—being cancelled to networks being unwilling to give a lesbian a daytime slot.

Mindful of her own experience, DeGeneres commended Carlile for her decision to come out while still in high school.

“It’s a brave thing to do, too. I mean, most people that are performing and they worry about their career, so it’s a brave thing for you to be open and out.”

Brandi Carlile calls herself ‘an awkward lesbian’

Carlile, who is married to Catherine Shepherd with two children, has often been candid about her sexuality, often referring to herself as “an awkward lesbian.”

In an interview with Variety ahead of the Grammys ceremony, she discussed her difficulties in finding an outfit for the event.

“Fashion designers don’t send clothes to the awkward lesbian that wants to dress like Freddie Mercury and Elton John,” she said.

Carlile, who appears in A Star is Born performing”Pretty Woman” with Marlon Williams and Bradley Cooper, described having an “awkward lesbian” moment when meeting Lady Gaga during the shooting of the film.

“I walk in the trailer and there’s an almost-naked Lady Gaga standing there. And she goes, ‘Girl!’ and gives me a huge naked hug. … I got to talk to her for awhile about being an awkward lesbian.”

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