Jeremy Priven is proud to have been a part of Ellen DeGeneres’ history-making moment. Speaking with ET Canada’s Dallas Dixon about his new film “Sweetwater”, Piven also looked back on co-starring with DeGeneres on her ground-breaking sitcom “Ellen”. READ MORE: Portia de Rossi Celebrates Her Birthday By Surprising Ellen DeGeneres With Wedding Vow Renewal Piven played Spence Kovak on the ’90s show from season 3 until the show ended in season 5, during the same period DeGeneres publicly came out as gay. “That’s another case where it’s like, I couldn’t believe how lucky I was to be a part of that,” the actor said. “I remember at the time, I was looking at Ellen thinking, ‘She’s so funny and brilliant and self-empowered and a role model and all these things, why doesn’t she come out?’ And I know that it was taboo then, but like, to me, I just thought — and I’m not just saying this, it sounds like a bit like Monday morning quarterback and saying like, you know, ‘I knew it,’ but it I was just so proud and happy, and it was obviously way past due.” READ MORE: Ellen DeGeneres Wants A Prize For Correctly Guessing Paris Hilton’s Baby Name He continued, “Imagine back then, when you come out, you’re on the cover of Time magazine.
You know what I mean? So now, thank God, people are feeling very comfortable to do that, or more comfortable.” DeGeneres publicly came out as gay on the show, in an episode which aired on April 30, 1997.
Along with being one of the most prominent LGBTQ+ performers at the time, her character on the show, Ellen Morgan, became the first gay or lesbian lead character on a U.S.