Ellen DeGeneres has revealed that she was sexually assaulted as a teenager.
While filming an upcoming episode of Netflix‘s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman, the talk show icon recalled when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer during her marriage to “a very bad man.” The 61-year-old went on to explain how he would use that information to manipulate her in certain situations, according to .
“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,” an emotional DeGeneres told the host. “He needed to feel mine.
“I didn’t know about bodies, I don’t know that breasts are all different and… 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.”
Detailing how she was around 15 at the time, she added that one incident saw the unnamed man “break [her] door down” as she “kicked the window out and ran” because she knew it would likely lead to more.
“I didn’t want to tell my mother ’cause I was protecting her and I knew that would ruin her happiness,” the Finding Nemo voice actor continued. “I should never have protected her. I should have protected myself.
Ellen DeGeneres (L) said her mother, Betty DeGeneres ®, was married to a ‘very bad man’ (Evan Agostini/Getty Images)
“I didn’t tell her for a few years and then I told her. She didn’t believe me and stayed with him for 18 more years. Finally, [she] left him because he’d changed the story so many times.”
During the interview, DeGeneres explained that she has finally decided to speak publicly about the abuse she suffered because she wants to encourage others who are going through similar experiences to stand up for themselves as best they can.
“It’s a really horrible, horrible story,” she said. “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.
“We [women] just don’t feel like we’re worthy, or we’re scared to have a voice, and we’re scared to say no. That’s the only reason I think it’s important to talk about it because there’s so many young girls and it doesn’t matter how old you are.
Ellen DeGeneres long-running chat show was renewed earlier this month (YouTube)
“When I see people speaking out, especially now, it angers me when victims aren’t believed, because we just don’t make stuff up. And I like men, but there are so many men that get away with so much.”
Premiering on Netflix on Friday 31 May, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction‘s second season will consist of five episodes. Music mogul Kanye West, actor Tiffany Haddish, Formula 1 race driver Lewis Hamilton and philanthropist Melinda Gates are the other famous faces due on to chat with Letterman.